BWB highlights

Any charities or CASCs benefiting from Gift Aid should take on board changes to HMRC’s model Gift Aid declarations – see today’s Briefing for details.

This week’s Briefing covers the period from 19th to 30th October.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has made what it describes as a “small change” to its public benefit guidance for fee-charging educational charities.

Civil Society Media reports the IOF and PFRA have written to the largest fundraising charities asking them to contribute around £20,000 each to the running costs of the proposed new fundraising regulator.

The Cabinet Office has opened nominations for the Social Value Awards, which recognise and celebrate good practice in commissioning and providing social value.

The UK government has announced plans to bring together countries and civil society organisations to tackle corruption in sport.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published its annual report 2014-15.

Giving Tuesday will be on 1st December 2015.

Charity Commission

Civil Society Media has this summary of Paula  Sussex’s speech to the NCVO Trustee Conference on Monday.   

The Commission has made what it describes as a “small change” to its public benefit guidance for fee-charging educational charities. The updated guidance now encourages trustees of charitable schools, as a matter of good practice, to comment on their individual approaches to public benefit in sports, drama, music and other arts in their trustee annual report.  The commission has updated its example trustee annual report for a charitable school to reflect the recommendation in the updated guidance. 

The Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Stanbridge Earls School Trust.  The inquiry relates to historic safeguarding issues and will examine in particular whether:

  • the trustees had sufficient oversight of the school’s management of safeguarding matters responsibilities as charity trustees 
  • the charity had adequate record-keeping procedures and practices in relation to the recording and reporting of safeguarding concerns

The Commission has published details of reviews carried out of:

  • its decision to appoint an interim manager to the charity Legal Action  
  • its decision  to appoint interim trustees to the charity, Masjid and Madrasah Al-Tawhid Trust

Charities (Protection and social investment) Bill

The House of Commons library has published this briefing paper on the progress of the Bill to date.

Charity Tribunal

A new appeal has been filed by Crocels Community Media Group.  No details given yet.

In relation to an existing appeal, the Tribunal has made an interesting determination about calculating whether an appeal has been filed in time.  Stephen Hunt is challenging the Commission’s decision not to register the organisation Annuity Helpline as a charity.   He filed his appeal more than 42 days after he was notified of the refusal to register, but less than 42 days from the Commission publishing the decision.  The Tribunal ruled that although Mr Hunt was the main correspondent for the application and a proposed trustee, the decision did not relate to him personally – and therefore the 42 days runs from the date of publication of the decision, not the date of notifying the decision to Mr Hunt.

Tax and VAT

HMRC has published new model Gift Aid declarations:

HMRC has said the new wording must be used from 6 April 2016 but has not clarified whether this is just for new donors or relates to existing donors as well. 

HMRC has also:

  • updated various Gift Aid template letters to be used by a charity shop to tell a donor how much has been raised from the sale of items given by the donor. 

Draft regulations have been published which will, from April 2016, make these changes to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme:

  • the maximum amount of small donations on which a charity may claim a top-up payment for a tax year will be increased from £5,000 to £8,000; and
  • community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) will be able to claim top-up payments on up to £8,000 of small cash donations they receive in a tax year.


Civil Society Media reports the IOF and PFRA have written to the largest fundraising charities asking them to contribute around £20,000 each to the running costs of the proposed new fundraising regulator.  

transcript of evidence given to PACAC by a Daily Mail journalist is now available.  

Giving Tuesday will be on 1st December 2015.  See this briefing from CAF

Data protection

An online pharmacy that sold details of more than 20,000 customers to marketing companies has beenfined £130,000.  The ICO investigation found that Pharmacy 2U had not informed its customers that it intended to sell their details, and that the customers had not given their consent for their personal data to be sold on.

Help Direct UK Ltd, a Swansea-based lead generation company has been fined £200,000 by the ICO for sending out thousands of unsolicited marketing text messages.  

See this blog by the Deputy Information Commissioner about “The US Safe Harbor – breached but perhaps not destroyed!” 

Social finance

The Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, Peter Holbrook CBE, has written to the Chancellor George Osborne, expressing concern at the Government’s decision to exclude social enterprises delivering community energy schemes from qualifying for Social Investment Tax Relief. 

Social value

The Cabinet Office has opened nominations for the Social Value Awards, which recognise and celebrate good practice in commissioning and providing social value.  The categories will be:

  • Social Value Leadership Award for an Organisation
  • Social Value Leadership Award for an Individual
  • Promoting and Mainstreaming Social Value Act Award
  • Driving Value for Money Award

The deadline for nominations is 20th November 2015. The winners will be announced at the Social Value Summit which will take place on 11th February 2016. 

The Cabinet Office has also announced almost £30,000 funding for 8 social value projects around the country.

In its press release welcoming the announcements, Social Enterprise UK has published details of this Parliamentary Question about social value and devolution. 

  • Earlier this month, on 9 October 2015, Chris White MP tabled a parliamentary question (PQ) asking the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government ‘what discussions he has had with local government representatives on ensuring social value is taken into account in proposals for greater devolution; and what his policy is on the recommendation of the Local Government Association's National Procurement Strategy for Local Government on the wider adoption of Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012’.
  • The PQ was answered on 19 October 2015 – ‘The Government is looking at the full costs and benefits of devolution proposals in line with Government guidance. This is supported by detailed conversations with areas to help them refine their work such as guidance about onward devolution to neighbourhoods. The Government fully supports local authorities applying the concept of social value more widely than required by the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and this is reflected in the Revised Best Value Statutory Guidance which was published in March of this year and can be viewed at:

Also see the item under Upcoming Spending Review below.

Public services

NCVO has published this round up of public service news, with some interesting commentary on the Work Programme.


The Environmental Audit Select Committee is inviting comments, by 15 November 2015, on thegovernment's proposed privatisation of the Green Investment Bank.

Also see item under Social finance above.


The UK government has announced plans to bring together countries and civil society organisations to tackle corruption in sport.


BWB Partner Simon Steeden has written this article in Civil Society Media in which he argues the Charity Commission must produce clearer guidance for charities on campaigning and the EU referendum.  

Also see  item under Northern Ireland below.


The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper that provides an overview of the duties on both state-funded and independent schools to safeguard children from extremism, by countering extremist ideology and the potential for pupils to be radicalised.

The Department for Education has published a consultation seeking views on the government's proposals to strengthen its powers to intervene in underperforming or "coasting" schools.

Upcoming Spending Review

CFG, Big Society Capital, Institute of Fundraising, Locality, NAVCA, Small Charities Coalition and Voice4Change England have submitted five key policy recommendations to the Chancellor George Osborne ahead of the upcoming Spending Review.  

The five proposals are:

  • Existing public service contracts should be adjusted for the introduction of the National Living Wage, and related workplace pension costs;
  • The creation of a Community Capital Fund to enable communities to take ownership of their assets and ensure they become self-sustaining;
  • The creation of a Centre for Social Value which would sit within the Commissioning Academy;
  • The creation of Voluntary Sector Master Classes to compliment the recently introduced Local Sustainability Fund by providing a range of technical training sessions that will equip voluntary organisations with the ability to improve their capacity and financial sustainability in the long-term; and
  • The establishment of Partnership Hubs to promote and create innovative solutions in the delivery of public services.

Public procurement

The Crown Commercial Service has published a brief guide to this Directive which has been implemented in the UK by the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Northern Ireland

The Electoral Commission has published guidance to help non-party campaigners understand and comply with campaigning rules at the May 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election.  

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published its annual report 2014-15.

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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

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Posted on 04/11/2015 in Legal Updates

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