BWB Highlights

Developments around self regulation of fundraising continue apace with the appointment last week of the Chief Executive of the new Fundraising Regulator, and the announcement of a working party to take forward proposals for a Fundraising Preference Service. See today’s Briefing for details.

The next BWB Briefing will be sent out the first week of January. From all of us at BWB, we wish you a peaceful and restorative festive season and a Happy New Year.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2014-15, its Annual Report of Compliance and Investigations case work.

Cambridgeshire Target Shooting Association has been unsuccessful in its appeal against the Charity Commission decision refusing to register the association as a charity.

A new Dormant Assets Commission will be tasked with unlocking billions of pounds worth of dormant assets, such as stocks and shares that have been untouched for more than 15 years.

The government has announced a package of new measures to help tackle homelessness.

Charity Commission

Corporate Report

Has published Tackling Abuse and Mismanagement 2014-15, its Annual Report of Compliance and Investigations case work. Statistic in the report include:

  • The commission opened over 400 new monitoring cases in 2014-15
  • The number of inquiries into charities was up from 15 in 2012-13 to 103 in 2014-15
  • The commission used its powers 1,200 times in 2014-15, (compared to 216 times in 2012-13) including 154 uses of its power to make a direction

In the press release accompanying the report, the Commission focussed on the risks of “dominant individuals” taking inappropriate control of their charity’s management

The report is also accompanied by a case report summarising cases involving concerns about potential inappropriate political activity or campaigning in the run-up to the 2015 General Election  (see also Case Report: The Badger Trust below)


The Commission has published  Inquiry Reports into:

  • Sheffield Reclamation Limited (Registered Charity Number 1025612). The accompanying press release explains that the Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity to investigate, among other things, the trustees’ failure to file accounts, the financial management of the charity and to what extent the charity’s activities furthered its object of providing work placed rehabilitation for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. The Commission used its legal powers to ensure that the trustees complied with their obligations to submit their annual accounting information, but found no evidence that the trustees’ failure to submit this information reflected any wider concerns about the trustees’ ability to comply with their legal duties and responsibilities as charity trustees.

Case Reports

The Commission has published a case report into an unnamed poverty relief charity . Concerns were raised with the Commission about an individual volunteer at the charity who was said to have breached restrictions placed on them following their conviction for sexual offences. The Commission set the charity an action plan, requiring the trustees to address serious concerns about the charity’s approach to safeguarding, which the charity has followed. 

The Charity Commission has published a case report into The Badger Trust where the Commission was concerned, in the lead up to the general election, about the charity’s campaigning activity, and specifically to positive references made in social media and elsewhere about the charity’s contribution to the manifesto of a particular party. During the case, the Commission told the charity it must take immediate steps to publicly reaffirm its party political neutrality and was later satisfied that the charity had done so.

The Charity Commission has published a case report into Holmewood Animal Rescue Charitable Trust.

This is a case where the Commission referred the charity for future monitoring on registration. The Commission was concerned that the charity was operating from land owned by two of the four trustees, without formal arrangements in place. Five months after registration this was still the case, so the Commission pressed the trustees to appoint additional trustees and formalise the arrangements with the land, which eventually took place.

Charity Commission news

The latest edition of Charity Commission News can be found here.

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

The House of Commons Public Bill Committee sat twice on 15 December 2015 to debate the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill 2015-16. It considered, and approved without amendment, clauses 1 to 8 of the Bill. The government rejected calls to make the Charity Commission's new power to issue official warnings (in clause 1) subject to greater safeguards. 

See here for a Civil Society Media summary of evidence submitted to the Committee by the Institute of Fundraising and PFRA. 

The date for the 3rd Sitting has been provisionally set for 5/1/2016.

Charity Tribunal

Cambridgeshire Target Shooting Association has been unsuccessful in its appeal against the Charity Commission decision refusing to register the association as a charity.


Reform of self-regulation

Stephen Dunmore has been appointed as the interim Chief Executive of the new Fundraising Regulator.

The IOF and Small Charities Coalition have launched a survey which aims to engage smaller charities on the fundraising reforms coming into effect next year. The survey closes on 15 January 2016.  

Fundraising Preference Service Working Group

The members of the Working Group have been announced. NCVO is to provide secretarial support. The Working Group’s terms of reference can be found here. The group is planning the following:

  • a series of roundtables to engage with charities of all sizes and from across different parts of the sector;
  • some consumer focus groups to hear the user experience;
  • a number of evidence sessions with representative bodies; and
  • an online survey in the New Year, which will focus on specific options and possible ways in which the FPS can operate.

In the meantime, anyone who wishes to send their comments now can do so already by emailing

Legacy fundraising

Last week The Times published an article about charities accessing public records of wills in order to contact bereaved relatives to ask for donations.  The Times reports charities as saying that the move is necessary for them to obtain the £2 billion a year left in wills. The article reports that Mark Pawsey, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for funerals and bereavement, has said the panel may launch an inquiry if it considered that charities are causing upset.  See this Civil Society Media article with more background. NCVO has written a blog to explain the context in which charities engage in legacy fundraising.

Small charities fundraising training programme

The Cabinet Office has selected the Foundation for Social Improvement, in partnership with the Small Charities Coalition, and GlobalGiving UK to run this programme.  They will provide training opportunities for small charities (i.e. those with an annual income of up to £1 million), from face-to-face training, to intensive one-to-one advice sessions, skilled volunteering matches and webinars. These will cover topics including:

  • developing a fundraising strategy
  • fundraising from trusts and foundations
  • developing corporate relationships
  • crowdfunding

Changes ahead in fundraising

Charities Aid Foundation has published a report “Giving Unchained – Philanthropy and the Blockchain”, which explores the implications blockchain technology may have for how charities fundraise and operate in future.  

Also see items above under Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill and Scotland below.

Data protection

The Information Commissioner has published this blog on EU data protection reform.

Dormant Assets Commission

A new Dormant Assets Commission, launched by the Government last week, will be tasked with unlocking billions of pounds worth of dormant assets, such as stocks and shares that have been untouched for more than 15 years. The funds collected will go to a number of good causes in a scheme that is set to be similar to that used by the Big Lottery Fund for dormant bank accounts. 

Local authority finance

The Local Government Secretary has published details of a 4-year funding package for councils in England, aimed at allowing councils to be financed from revenues they raise locally, such as council tax and business rates, rather than central government grants. In addition, by 2019 to 2020 up to £3.5 billion of additional funds will be made available to local government for adult social care services.

Social finance

The Financial Conduct Authority has requested evidence on how regulation in the social investment market is working. In a call for input, the FCA said it was encouraging views on social entrepreneurs’ experiences of raising social capital and the potential risks to consumers. The FCA said its call for evidence would explore any problems consumers, social enterprises and financial advisers, including crowdfunding platforms, have in encouraging and securing social investment. Evidence should be submitted to the FCA by 11 March.  

Big Society Capital has published this blog about using a “golden share” company structure to safeguard a founder’s mission when further external investment is sought.

Social enterprise

Social Enterprise UK has published this summary of 2015 in the social enterprise sector, by Nick Temple.



The Department of Education has published updated statutory guidance on supporting pupils at school with medical conditions.  


The government has launched a UK-wide review of university research funding, with one key aim being to cut red tape.

Health and social care

Five healthcare “devolution projects” have been announced for London, with the aim of allowing London “to begin the process of taking control of its own affairs”.

See this government announcement about a new route into nursing. 

Also see item above under Local authority finance.

Housing and homelessness

The government has announced a package of new measures to help tackle homelessness.

International development

Bond has published a report “Making Evaluations Work Harder for International Development”. The report explores  why some organisations publish their evaluations and others do not, and identifies key enablers of and barriers to publication.

Faith based organisations

The government has issued a call for evidence in relation to the tax treatment of employer provided living accommodation.


The Government has published its new strategy “Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation”. See here for comment from the Sport and Recreation Alliance. 

Public bodies reform/regulatory bodies

The government has announced its approach to public bodies reform from 2015 to 2020.   Instead of just piecemeal reviews, of individual arms-length bodies (ALBs), it will look at how groups of quangos can be merged, share back offices or work better together, with the first tier of reviews covering bodies with regulatory functions. 

Public procurement

The Court of Appeal has upheld a High Court ruling that the award of damages for breach of the public procurement rules is not discretionary.


See here for the next steps in relation to the review of self regulation of Fundraising in Scotland.

The Scottish charity regulator has published its inquiry report on Voluntary Sector Gateway West Lothian (SCO27616). The regulator opened its inquiry in November 2014 after it had been contacted by the charity’s own trustees, who raised concerns about governance issues they had identified. The report identifies a number of issues in the running of the charity, but the regulator found no evidence of misconduct.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (“CCNI”) has given its growing register of charities a makeover  in the hope of making it easier to find information, and now also displays each charity’s annual accounts when they have been submitted to the regulator.

CCNI has opened a consultation on its draft accounting and reporting guidance, which is aimed at supporting charities in understanding their duties under new annual reporting regulations, which apply from 1 January 2016.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 22/12/2015 in Legal Updates

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