BWB Briefing for Charities and Social Enterprise

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published the Annual Return 2015 with accompanying guidance.

The Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute has published a report “UK Humanitarian Aid in the Age of Counter-Terrorism: Perceptions and reality”.

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a consultation on revised best value statutory guidance for England.

Schools across England are being invited to bid for funding to help boost diversity in their senior leadership teams.

NHS England has published “A bite-size guide to grants for the voluntary sector”.

NCVO has published a report 'Volunteer internships in the voluntary sector - review and guidance'

Several sector bodies, including the Institute of Fundraising and NCVO, have published their responses to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Call for Evidence in relation to society lotteries.


Charity Commission

Has published a press release about charities providing funding to non-charitable organisations.

Has published the Annual Return 2015 with accompanying guidance.

Has named further charities which are part of the latest phase of its class inquiry into double defaulting charities, focusing on charities with income of £200,000 - £249,999.

Third Sector reports the Commission is considering asking charities to provide more information in their annual returns about any religious objects they have, including whether they are multifaith or, if a single faith, which faith.


Tax and VAT

In advance of the upcoming 2015 Budget statement, the Institute of Fundraising has written with a number of other organisations to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, about “Removing tax barriers for charities.” Among other things, the letter calls on the government to:

  • Bring forward the review of the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme, due in 2016
  • Conduct a review into corporate gift aid to consider whether charities should be able to claim the tax relief rather than companies
  • Extend the VAT rebate scheme introduced last year to potentially save the charity sector up to £1.5 billion per year.

Charity law cases

Not so much a case about charity law, but a case involving a charity which has gone all the way to the Supreme Court. The conservation charity, Sea Shepherd UK (“SSUK”), was sued alongside two non UK defendants, for loss and damage allegedly suffered by the claimant, Fish and Fish Limited, in an incident in the Mediterranean Sea on 17 June 2010 when conservationists mounted an operation designed to disrupt the bluefin tuna fishing activities of the claimant. The Supreme Court had to consider whether the UK charity was an accessory to the actions of the other defendants. By a majority of three to two, the Supreme Court held that it was open to the original judge to find that SSUK's assistance (fundraising and recruiting individuals) was of minimal importance and, as a result, that SSUK was not a jointly liable. However, the minority judges did not agree that SSUK's acts were too trivial to constitute assistance to further the common design.


Charities working internationally

The Humanitarian Policy Group of the Overseas Development Institute has published a report “UK Humanitarian Aid in the Age of Counter-Terrorism: Perceptions and reality”. This report looks at the issues from the perspective of aid agencies, banks, the UK government and the Charity Commission.


Social investment

Key Fund has invested £150k into a new Social Impact Bond to help tackle youth homelessness across the North West. The investment will enable regional charity Local Solutions to engage in a pay-by-results contract.

See this press release about the first anniversary of the Threadneedle UK Social Bond Fund which has reached over US $100m in assets under management. The fund has returned 11.8% gross, delivering on its aim to achieve an annual gross return in line with that of a UK sterling corporate bond index.

Susan Ralphs, Managing Director of The Ethical Property Company Limited has written this blog “How do we create liquidity in the impact investment market?” BWB advised The Ethical Property Company on its recent share buyback.


Social value

The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a consultation on revised best value statutory guidance for England. The consultation proposes to update the existing statutory guidance on best value to include, among other things, a reminder of the statutory duty to consider “social value”.


Education

Early years

The Department for Education has published statutory guidance on disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 and who will be unable to provide relevant childcare provision as a result.

Schools

See here for the latest Government press release on free schools.

On World Book Day, the Government announced new funding for book clubs and a drive to get every primary school child a library card.

Schools across England are being invited to bid for funding to help boost diversity in their senior leadership teams.


Health

NHS England has published “A bite-size guide to grants for the voluntary sector”.

The National Health Service Pension Scheme Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/94) have been laid before Parliament and will come into force on 1 April 2015. The regulations set out the operation and administration of the new NHS pension scheme which takes effect under reforms introduced by the Public Service Pensions Act 2013. :

ACEVO has published a new report arguing that “alliance contracting’ between the third sector and the public sector in health and social care is necessary if future NHS crises are to be avoided


Faith based organisations

See item above under Charity Commission about plans for the 2016 Annual Return.


Volunteering

NCVO has published a report 'Volunteer internships in the voluntary sector - review and guidance'.


Company law: plans to introduce a "Register of people with significant control" (PSC)

Among BIS is carrying out a survey on the implications of this new Register for people with significant control where disclosure of their details could mean serious risk of physical harm.


Procurement

In a case where Solent NHS Trust is challenging the award of a new contract for adult substance misuse recovery services by Hampshire County Council, the High Court has lifted what would otherwise be an automatic suspension of the new contract. This is notwithstanding that the High Court concluded there was a serious issue to be tried. The High Court took into account that lifting the suspension would ensure that the service users (vulnerable drug and alcohol addicts in Hampshire) would benefit sooner from more fully integrated and improved services as envisaged by the new contract. (Solent NHS Trust v Hampshire County Council [2015] EWHC 457 (TCC)).


Fundraising

See item under Tax and VAT above, and case under charity law cases, where fundraising by a UK charity was taken into account when deciding if it was an accessory to acts of a third party.

Lotteries: The Institute of Fundraising (IOF) has issued this press release summarising its response to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Call for Evidence in relation to society lotteries. The IOF’s recommendations include:

  • An increase in the permissible amount of ticket sales for a single draw from £4 million to £10 million.
  • An increase in the annual income cap on any society lottery from £10 million to £100 million.
  • An increase in prize values from £25,000 to £100,000 and from 10% of the proceeds to 50%.
  • Flexibility in the application of the 80:20 rule to allow the minimum contribution for good causes to be aggregated across all draws.

Civil Society Media reports NCVO has said that there is not enough evidence available to agree with the IOF’s call to substantially increase the size of society lotteries.


Trusteeship

Trustees Unlimited has released the first edition of Trustee Matters, a free e-newsletter. This edition looks at succession planning and the potential value of MPs becoming trustees, along with providing a variety of opportunities for those seeking trusteeship.


Scotland

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is consulting on an updated version of its guidance for charities on meeting the charity test. The consultation will run from 3 March to 26 May 2015, with the final guidance due for publication in the summer.


Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published “What do charities look like in Northern Ireland”, a report, analysing charity information held on the new register of charities as at 19 January 2015, just over a year after registration began. Some of the key findings from the report include:

Annual income of the 786 registered charities range from less than £100 to almost £200 million.
The top 20% of charities by income account for more than 80% of the total income of the sector.
Just over a quarter of charities on the register have an income of £10,000 or less per annum.
Just over half of registered charities are unincorporated associations.


Posted on 11/03/2015 in Legal Updates

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