BWB highlights

BWB has submitted a detailed response to the Law Commission consultation on technical areas of charity law including disposals of charity land, preserving legacies to merged charities, powers of unincorporated charities and amending constitutions for statutory charities and royal charter bodies.


At a glance

The Charity Commission has published its Annual Report and Strategic Plan for 2015/16.

The Employee Ownership Association has developed and launched new guidance “Employee Ownership In Our Public Services - Making It Happen”.

The Department for Education has published new advice and social media guidance for schools and childcare providers to help them keep children safe from the risk of radicalisation and extremism.

The universities minister, Jo Johnson, has set out plans to widen participation and drive up teaching quality through a Teaching Excellence Framework.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its Annual Report for 2014/15.

The NI Executive has published proposals to extend age discrimination legislation to cover the provisions of goods, facilities and services.


Charity Commission

Has published:

A report of its inquiry into My Community UK. The inquiry was triggered following a complaint from a member of the public alleging unmanaged conflicts of interest and related party transactions within the charity resulting in private benefits received by the charity’s trustees’ families. There was also an allegation that the profits of the charity’s trading subsidiary – Muhabba - may not have been transferred back to the charity. The inquiry concluded that there had been misconduct or mismanagement on the part of the original trustees and issued an order (under Section 84 of the Charities Act 2011) requiring the current (new) trustees to take professional advice on the merits of seeking recovery of funds from the former trustee and report back to the commission by 30 September 2015.

Inquiry reports into two “double defaulting” charities:


Charity law reform

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill – Civil Society Media has published this report of the House of Lords debate last week about the definition in the Bill of social investment and whether to include a requirement for charities undertaking social investment to get professional financial advice.

Social Enterprise UK has published this blog on the proposed definition in the Bill of “social investment”.

BWB has submitted a comprehensive response to the Law Commission consultation on technical areas of charity law including disposals of charity land, preserving legacies to merged charities, powers of unincorporated charities and amending constitutions for statutory charities and royal charter bodies. A copy of the submission will be made available on our website in the coming days.


Governance

Onboard has released the findings of its in-depth study into boardroom behaviours in a new report, Governing with Intent. Having surveyed and interviewed over 300 respondents, from trustees to chairs, chief executives and senior managers, the report provides a snapshot into the mindset and outlook of a modern charity board. Governing with Intent examines attitudes around how the board performs; the relationship between the board and the chief executive; and how trustees view the role of new technologies in governance. Insights are used to make recommendations as to how governance can be improved in light of the findings.

Tesse Akpeki commented, “The report gives a clear view into why things are the way they and more importantly, what can be done to move governance forward. Particularly, our findings on digital practices and the relationship between chief executives and chairs were revealing. Our recommendations should help today’s boards prepare for tomorrow’s best practices”.


Community benefit societies

Last week we mentioned a government consultation on new guidance for community benefit societies. In addition to responding to that consultation, Co-operatives UK is running a consultation for its members, which it will then feed into a wider consultation response.


Village halls

See item under Scotland below.


Social enterprise

A reminder that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Community Interest Company (“CIC”). BWB is involved with two events being organised by the CIC Regulator to mark the anniversary. The first is in Bristol on Thursday 16th July at 11.30 The event is free to attend but you need to register in advance. BWB will be hosting the second event at its offices in London on 10 September.

NAVCA has published this blog from a NAVCA member Chief Officer expressing frustration about use of the CIC model.


Mutuals

The Employee Ownership Association has developed and launched a new guide on employee ownership, which has been designed specifically for public sector organisations, including spin outs. The report “Employee Ownership In Our Public Services - Making It Happen” can be downloaded here.


Education

Schools

The Department for Education has published:

Higher education

In a speech last week, universities minister, Jo Johnson, set out plans to widen participation and drive up teaching quality through a Teaching Excellence Framework. See here for comments from Madeleine Atkins, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, welcoming the proposals.


Health and social care

Last week Jeremy Hunt called for “a new social contract between the public, health and care services”.

The Department of Health, Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Social Services, Health Education England and the Care Quality Commission have published a joint report giving an update on how we are continuing to work together to make sure people with learning disabilities and/or autism with mental illness, and those with challenging behaviours get the best care possible in settings that are most appropriate to them.

Also see item under Regulatory below.


International development

See here for a speech by Justine Greening, the international development secretary, focussing on the need for development to go beyond aid.

See here for comment from Bond on what that means in terms of a review of DFID’s relationship with civil society.


Arts

Third Sector Research Centre has published “Understanding Cultural Value: The Amateur and Voluntary Arts”.


Regulatory

This is an interesting policy published by Monitor setting out how it manages conflicts between its different functions or between competing regulatory interests.


Equalities

See item under Northern Ireland below.


Procurement

The Crown Commercial Service has published an updated version of its lean sourcing guidance for public sector buyers.

On 29 June 2015, the High Court dismissed an action that challenged the operation of a framework agreement for the supply of locum doctors. The claimant alleged that the framework agreement was being operated in a way that was materially different from what had been stated in the tender documents or was allowed under the terms of the agreement. The High Court found, however, that there was no basis in fact in the claimant's allegations. There was no discrepancy between the tender documents and the framework agreement. (Medicure Ltd v The Minister for the Cabinet Office [2015] EWHC 1854 (TCC)).


Information

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its Annual Report for 2014/15. Key facts include:

  • The ICO received almost 180,000 online reports about nuisance calls and texts, a 12% increase on last year. Most reports were related to accident claims, green energy deals, payday loans and lifestyle surveys.
  • It has undertaken more regulatory action than ever before, issuing five civil monetary penalties totalling £386,000 and issuing eight enforcement notices that order organisations to stop illegal activity.
  • It has also successfully prosecuted 10 individuals under the Data Protection Act for unlawfully obtaining or disclosing personal data.

Fundraising

Civil Society Media reports the think tank Rogare has called for a fourth fundraising regulatory body to set the code of fundraising practice.


Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint about a TV ad by Plan International.


Consumer law

The Financial Conduct Authority has published an interactive discussion paper on smarter consumer communications. The discussion paper is intended to kick-start a debate around how to deliver information to consumers in smarter and more effective ways, including adopting innovative techniques as firms move away from paper-based communications.


Scotland

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is carrying out a survey to improve its understanding of the issues facing village halls. This is with a view to it producing guidance for the several hundred such charities on the Scottish Register. Many village halls were originally constituted by a deed of trust that names trustees who hold the heritable property, and provides for the establishment of a management committee responsible for the day-to-day running of the hall. This leads to an unusual two-tier structure which OSCR says has caused confusion.


Northern Ireland

The NI Executive has published proposals to extend age discrimination legislation to cover the provisions of goods, facilities and services.

The charity commission for Northern Ireland is developing a new strategic plan to support development of the plan, the Commission has opened a comment phase to seek views and suggestions from interested parties on the possible contents.


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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

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+44(0)20 7551 7712

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c.rigby@bwbllp.com
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Posted on 09/07/2015 in Legal Updates

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