BWB Highlights

Parts of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 are now in force, with the rest due to follow in the autumn. See today’s Briefing for details.

Today’s BWB Briefing covers the period from 18th July to 5th August.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published guidance for trustees about the new social investment power, and guidance on litigation.

The Institute of Fundraising has published guidance for charities working with third parties and fundraising agencies. 

The Direct Marketing Association has published a white paper “An ideal future for one-to-one fundraising” which sets out the recommendations of its fundraising taskforce.

The Home Secretary and Archbishop of Canterbury have launched a new scheme to encourage community groups to sponsor a refugee family.

The Government is consulting on the possible introduction of a new statutory measure relating to reporting child abuse or neglect.

The Competition and Markets Authority has published its review of consumer law compliance in the HE sector and received undertakings from 3 universities.

Charity Commission

Investment guidance

The Commission has published guidance for trustees about the new social investment power that was introduced on 31 July 2016.  The new interim guidance supplements the Commission’s existing guidanceCharities and investment matters (CC14).  See the Social Investment section below for comment from BWB.  The Commission is also planning a further review of its investment guidance in 2017.

Litigation Guidance

The final version of the Commission’s litigation guidance (CC36 – Charities and litigation – a guide for trustees) has been published.  The main guidance is accompanied by a “Legal Underpinnings” document.  See here for comment from BWB’s Melinder Jhittay on the new guidance.

Memorandum of Understanding with the Fundraising Regulator

See below under Fundraising.

Inquiry report

The commission has published inquiry reports into:


The Commission has published :

  • blog about governance in the sector and how it can be improved, and
  • two blogposts about public trust in charities; the first entitled “How do you choose which charity to support” and the second “How do charities tell the public what they want to know?”

New inquiry

The Commission has opened new inquiries into:

CC News

The latest edition of CC news has been published.

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

We now know the dates that most provisions of the 2016 Act will be brought into force. 

Since 31st July, the social investment power has been in force – see here for a BWB Briefing.   

From 1st October 2016, some of the Commission’s new powers to disqualify from being a trustee will come into force

From 1st November 2016, the Commission’s power to give official warnings and the fundraising provisions come into force.

The BWB website has this useful page listing when provisions of the Act will be in force.

Charity law cases

In a case brought by Jonathan Bishop on behalf of Crocels Community Media Group, the First Tier Charity Tribunal has agreed with the Charity Commission that an organisation with the following objects is not charitable:

  • improving fraternity between nations;
  • advancing the understanding and promoting the cause of peace, and
  • innovating for the abolition or reduction of standing armies.

A new appeal has been filed in the Charity Tribunal by Ingham St Masonic Benevolent Assn.  Third Sectorreports it is a charity applying to be reinstated after it was struck off by the Charity Commission for failing to submit annual returns or reply to correspondence.


Exit process

Theresa May has continued on her tour of the various EU states, reiterating in Italy that Article 50 would not be triggered any time soon. She has also specifically warned that the UK would only ensure the protection of EU citizens in Britain if British citizens are assured of the same rights in EU countries.  

Baroness Wheatcroft has stated that the House of Lords could halt or delay any attempt to activate Article 50. She has said that she hopes any delays in the Lords would lead to a second referendum having to be held. A legal challenge as to whether the government can trigger article 50 without the authorisation of Parliament will be heard in the Autumn.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has ruled out a second referendum, stating that Labour would not stand in the way of Brexit, and that the decision of the people must be respected.


New Philanthropy Capital’s new report “Boldness in Times of Change” brings together NPC’s thinking on what are the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing charities and the sector in 2016 and beyond.


After lobbying from charities such as Citizens UK, the Home Secretary and Archbishop of Canterbury havelaunched a new scheme to encourage community groups to sponsor a refugee family. Sponsoring organisations must have status as either a registered charity or community interest company, the consent of the local authority in which they wish to operate, and a comprehensive plan for resettlement in order to apply for the scheme. Lambeth Palace is the first community group to be approved to receive a refugee family.

A new online service to help refugees in the UK is also being trialled in nine parts of the country - it gives members of the public a route to offer practical help for example, providing clothes and toys, housing or fostering.


The Office for Civil Society is seeking to support a fundraising campaign with at least £250,000 of match funding.

The High Court has held that a council’s decision to cut funding to voluntary sector organisations which provided short breaks to disabled children was unlawful. The council made a first decision which was found to be unlawful because it was based on an explanatory "formula" which was not tailored to the decision in question and there was no evidence that the council had been directed to address further mandatory considerations which arose from the proposal to cut funding.  A second Council decision aimed at curing the defects in the first decision was also held to be unlawful because it was held to have been materially affected by apparent predetermination on the council's part.


Fundraising Regulator

The memorandum of understanding between the Fundraising Regulator and the Charity Commission has been published.

Various bodies have responded to the consultation on funding the Fundraising Regulator.  See here for headline comments from the Institute of Fundraising broadly agreeing with the £100k threshold but suggesting the impact on charities at either end of proposed spectrum of bands should be monitored.  

Working with fundraising agencies

On 4th August, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) published guidance for charities working with third parties and fundraising agencies.  

Public collections

The Fundraising Standards Board has:

  • upheld a complaint about face to face Direct Debit donor recruitment campaigns for the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home carried out by a fundraising company at several private sites (including supermarkets and shopping centres).  
  • upheld a complaint about the continued delivery of unwanted clothing collection bags to a household in Cambridgeshire.  

Also see item under Data Protection below.

Social finance

As you will already know, the social investment power introduced by the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 came into force on 31 July 2016.  See here for BWB’s Briefing.  

Big Society Capital has published its first independent stakeholder survey.

Social impact

See this article published by Philanthropy Impact about what is needed to enable the impact-investing industry to continue to grow and mature.

Social enterprise

Following the changes to government departments in mid-July, Social Enterprise UK called for a breakaway unit for social enterprise, social investment and mutuals within the newly created Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. This was supported by a letter signed on behalf of 25 businesses.  

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has published two discussion papers impacting on small businesses:

  • The first proposes introducing “look-through” taxation for certain small companies. It sets out that, in principle, shareholders in companies that qualify for look-through treatment would be taxed in the same way as if they were sole traders (or partners in a partnership).
  • The second sets out proposals for introducing a Sole Enterprise with Protected Assets (SEPA) model.  During the OTS's review into small company taxation, which was aimed at simplifying the tax system for small companies, the OTS noted that the most common reason given by small companies for incorporation was for limited liability rather than for tax reasons. . Following the review, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury endorsed the OTS's recommendation that it further explore a SEPA model. Under this model, individuals would be able to apply for SEPA status. This status would provide protection for some or all of the individual's private assets against claims or losses arising from the registered business.


See under Safeguarding below for a proposed new statutory duty to report child abuse or neglect.

Higher education

The Competition and Markets Authority has published its review of consumer law compliance in the HE sector and received undertakings from 3 universities.


See under Equality Act below.


On 21 July 2016, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) launched an inquiry into the future of the natural environment, following Brexit. The EAC invites submissions on the:

  • Future of funding for biodiversity and agri-environment schemes;
  • Likely changes in the devolved administrations; and
  • Role that managed rewilding can play in conservation and restoration

Responses must be submitted by 9 September 2016.

Equality Act

The government has published its response to the House of Lords Select Committee Report on the impact on disabled people of the Equality Act 2010. The Committee made a number of recommendations relating to employment, transport, buildings and environment, education and sport. The government's response to the provision of goods, services and facilities aspects include its response to recommendations on reasonable adjustments, the commencement of provisions on common areas of leasehold properties, access to sports facilities and transport.  One proposed change is the establishment of a Public Service Ombudsman.

Charities and anti-terrorism legislation

Responding to a written question in the House of Lords, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O'Neill of Gatley has announced that the Government will be convening a working group to look at the implications of counter terrorism legislation on the funding and delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Data protection

The Article 29 Working Party has issued a statement welcoming the improvements introduced by the Privacy Shield, which will replace the Safe Harbour regime as a mechanism for protecting personal data which is transferred from the EU to the US. The Working Party has, however, raised a number of concerns including a concern about the access that US public authorities will have to data which is transferred to the US under the Privacy Shield.

The ICO has published a blog “the what, why and how of transferring data to the USA” which outlines what has changed in relation to the transfer of personal data to the USA and what organisations should do next.

The Direct Marketing Association has published a white paper “An ideal future for one-to-one fundraising” which sets out the recommendations of its fundraising taskforce. It contains 15 “fundraising goals” which include being open and accountable about how fundraised income will be spent and seeing “your supporter data as your charity’s most valuable asset”. The guide is intended to address some of the fundamental challenges now facing the fundraising sector which are described in the guide as “the explosion in data, technology and ease of one-to-one communications”. The guide was produced following a workshop with charities to gauge the response of the sector. We have seen no comment on how these recommendations will dovetail with the ongoing work of the Opt out working group or the Fundraising Preference Service group.


The Government is consulting on the possible introduction of one of two additional statutory measures:

  • a mandatory reporting duty, which would require certain practitioners or organisations to report child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place
  • a duty to act, which would require certain practitioners or organisations to take appropriate action in relation to child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place.

The new duty would apply to organisations involved in the delivery of education, childcare, social care and healthcare and law enforcement, possibly also probation services and housing services.  Table 1 on page 19 gives examples of types of organisation and the roles within them.  The consultation closes on 13th October 2016.

Goddard Inquiry

For comment from BWB on the recent resignation of the Inquiry Chair, see this BWB Briefing.


OSCR has taken court action against Scottish Charity Scotia aid Sierra Leone (SC041617) in order to obtain: the appointment of an interim judicial factor, an interim interdict against the charity from selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of any of its property, an interim suspension of the charity trustees from the management and control of the charity and an interim order freezing the charity bank accounts. The interim inquiry report has been published.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has issued new accounting and reporting guidance to support Northern Irish charities in meeting their annual reporting duties.

The Guardian Charity Awards 2016

BWB is proud to be sponsoring the Guardian Charity Awards. The Awards celebrate the achievements of the UK’s small charities. Tell the Guardian your story to have the chance of winning a prize package including £3000 and marketing consultancy as well as a feature in the Guardian. Enter for free before 19 August.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 10/08/2016 in Legal Updates

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