BWB Highlights

The vexed issue of what amounts to consent to be contacted for fundraising purposes will now be examined by an NCVO Working Group on “‘Opt In’ Fundraising”.  See today’s Briefing for details. 

Is this week’s Briefing too long/too short/too focused on some areas but not others? If you have not already done so, please give us your feedback on the BWB Briefing by completing our short survey here.

At a glance

HMRC announced on 8 January 2016 that, as an interim measure, interest payments on peer-to-peer (P2P) loans may be made without deduction of income tax. 

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has ruled that information about funding of academy schools must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.   

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the state of the care home market in England. 

The  Scottish Charity Regulator has recently set up a charity registration logo that charities registered with OSCR can download free of charge and use on their charity’s website and email signatures.  

Charity Commission


The Charity Commission has opened statutory inquiries into Families for Survival UK (registered charity 1135545) and Save the Age Ltd (1152048). In the announcement covering both inquiries  the Commission states that it is investigating concerns that both charities are being used as vehicles for fraudulent state benefit claims.

The Commission has published inquiry reports into:

  • Muriel Edith Rickman Trust (former registered charity 326143) which is part of the class inquiry into “double defaulter charities” (i.e. charities that were in default of their statutory obligations to meet reporting requirements by failing to file their annual document for two or more years in the last five years).
  • Caring for Children in the Gambia (1108231), an unincorporated charity for the advancement of education of children in the Gambia. The Commission found that there was misconduct/mismanagement in the administration of the charity because the trustees did not adequately separate the affairs of the charity from the affairs of a separate company (which the trustee had attempted to register as a separate charity to replace the unincorporated charity, but had been refused registration by the Commission as the objects were not exclusively charitable), did not maintain adequate records and were unable to demonstrate that all expenditure was a proper application for the purposes of the charity. The charity has now ceased to operate.

Case reports/decisions

The Commission has published:

  • case report into Nice Time (registered charity 1060306) , a charity to provide facilities for recreation and advance the physical education of children and young people. The Commission established that two of the trustees were benefiting from unauthorised payments from the charity’s trading subsidiary which runs an ice rink (one was being paid to serve as Managing Director of the subsidiary, the other was being paid fees for accountancy services). The Commission provided regulatory advice and as a result the trustees stopped the payments, sought legal advice and appointed independent trustees.  
  • decision in relation to The Sir Thomas Lipton Charity. The Commission has explained its reasons for agreeing, on the trustee’s application, to make a scheme to give the trustee power to dispose of a building formerly used as a care home, but which is designated charity land.  The decision sets out that the trustee must give proper consideration to use the proceeds of sale for a replacement property and if this is not feasible, the trustee will be required to apply for a new cy-pres scheme.


The Commission has published its statistics from 1 April to 31 December 2015 in relation to operational cases and inquiry cases. 36 inquiries were opened into registered charities during that period.


The Commission has issued advice about logging into their online services and keeping a charity’s information up-to-date and accurate.

In a statement explaining how members of the public can find out information on a charity’s activities and finances from the charities register, the Commission has published a list of charities operating in Sefton, Merseyside which are not up to date with their filing obligations .

The Commission has issued a press release urging charities to remain vigilant about mandate fraud, (i.e. where the fraudster tricks a victim into changing bank account details in order to divert legitimate payments intended for a genuine organisation (e.g. a charity supplier) to bank accounts instead controlled by fraudsters). The Commission recommends that trustees and other charity professionals familiarise themselves with the Metropolitan Police’s mandate fraud advice.


“Opt –in” Fundraising

NCVO has set up a “Working Group on ‘Opt In’ Fundraising - How to secure freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous consent.”  It will be chaired by Michael Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross.  Anyone wanting to take part in a wider reference group, which will act as a sounding board throughout the process and help shape the working group’s recommendations, should contact . The main working group will be reporting to NCVO’s trustee board before the summer.  For more see this blog and these terms of reference.

Telephone fundraising

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport  has launched a consultation on requiring direct marketing callers to provide Calling Line Identification (CLI). CLI is a telephone number identifying a caller.  The change would be introduced  “in Spring 2016” by an amendment to the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR). The consultation runs until 23rd February.

PACAC Inquiry

The Information Commissioner has submitted further written evidence to the Parliamentary Committee (“PACAC”) looking into charity fundraising. The evidence names 8 charities which were sent a standard  letter by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2014 – the charities, along with 492 other organisations, were all sent the letter because they had attracted some complaints to the Telephone Preference Service in 2013.

Social finance

HMRC announced on 8 January 2016 that, as an interim measure, interest payments on peer-to-peer (P2P) loans may be made without deduction of income tax.  This measure will apply until the government determines how withholding is to apply to such loans.

In an interview with Civil Society News, Rob Wilson, Minister for Civil Society has defended the government’s decision to focus resources on social investment, and has said he wants the social impact bond market to be worth £1bn by the end of this Parliament.  



The following have been published: 

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has ruled that information about funding of academy schools must be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  A request was made to the Department for Education for information about how much money was paid out when sponsorship of a failing academy was transferred to new sponsors. The Information Commissioner had ruled that section 36(2)(c) of FOIA prevented disclosure but this was overturned on appeal.

Higher education

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has allowed a university to rely on the costs limit to refuse to provide information that it was under a separate legal obligation to hold. An animal rights organisation was seeking information about the number of animals used in scientific experiments.  

Children's and youth services

See this speech by Nicky Morgan MP about government plans to “transform” children’s social work.

Six local authorities will receive government support for their youth services in round 2 of the 'Delivering Differently for Young People' programme.  The 6 local authorities are: Brighton and Hove, Devon, Hartlepool, Lewisham, St Helens and Trafford.  The “innovative” approaches put forward by the six include:

  • ‘spinning out’ services into staff-led mutual; and
  • establishing independent youth trusts or joint ventures with private, voluntary and community sector organisations

The Cabinet Office has published a report which “provides evidence that young people who take part in social action initiatives develop some of the most critical skills for employment and adulthood in the process”.  

Health and social care

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the state of the care home market in England. 

Transport and the environment

The Department of Transport has published a report listing six charities it funded in 2014/15 under Section 70 of the Charities Act 2006.  

Data protection

See items under Fundraising above.

Freedom on information

Civil Society Media reports NCVO and ACEVO have urged caution over the extension of the Freedom of Information Act to charities.  

Also see items under Education above.

Goddard Inquiry

Not new this week, but just to flag from late last year, in November the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (‘the Goddard Inquiry’) announced the first phase if its work with twelve investigations to be heard in its Public Inquiry Project in addition to the work of the Inquiry’s ‘Truth Project’ and ‘Research Project’.  Voluntary sector organisations form part of one of the five institutional sectors which have been assigned to the Goddard Inquiry’s panel members as dedicated work-streams. If you have any questions or would like further information on your organisation’s potential involvement with the Goddard Inquiry, then please contact the head of BWB’s Public and Regulatory Department, Melanie Carter.


OSCR, the  Scottish Charity Regulator has recently set up a charity registration logo that charities registered with OSCR can download free of charge and use on their charity’s website and email signatures.

Northern Ireland

CCNI have announced their first in a series of public consultation events to seek views on their new accounting and reporting guidance for registered charities  The draft guidance, developed by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, is aimed at supporting charities in understanding their legal reporting duties, following the introduction of new legislation on 1 January 2016.

Interested in trade marks? Read our latest Intellectual Property (IP) spring update 

Stephen Lloyd Awards 2016

The first Stephen Lloyd Awards Annual Report has been published, detailing the latest news, development and individual updates from the Stephen Lloyd Award winners. Our winners have made great progress and the success from last year's achievements has geared us up with further excitement as the application process is launched on 1st February.

Click here to read the Annual Report


New from Get Legal

BWB Get Legal brings you a range of top-quality, affordable legal documents, available to download and customise to your specifications. Every document has been drafted by our expert solicitors.

This months' top selling documents on Get Legal include:

  • Volunteer agreement - this document sets out the hopes and expectations of the individual and the organisation, without placing contractual obligations on either party.


Disclaimer - The information contained in this update is not intended to be a comprehensive update - it is our selection of the website announcements made in the week up to last Friday which we think will be of interest to charities and social enterprises. The content is necessarily of a general nature - specific advice should always be sought for specific situations.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 19/01/2016 in Legal Updates

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