BWB Highlights

There are still spaces available for our upcoming Charity Tea Party on 22nd September. See below for more details.  

At a glance

HMRC has published a summary of responses to the recent Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme consultation, and has launched a technical consultation on operating models for intermediaries who administer Gift Aid on behalf of charities.

The Department for Education has published proposals for how the apprenticeships support package for employers in England will work from May 2017.

A GP practice that revealed confidential details about a woman and her family to her estranged ex-partner has been fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner.

New Philanthropy Capital has published “It starts from the top”, a report outlining how “we can improve charity governance and, by extension, the impact of the sector as a whole”.

The Community Interest Company Regulator has published its annual report.

Charity Commission

Inquiry report

The Commission has published its inquiry report into the charities St Stephen the Great (1119839) and St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (1109008) and has also issued a press release about the case. The main activities of both charities were to purchase disused churches to ensure their future use as churches within the Orthodox Christian church.  An Interim Manager appointed by the Commission concluded that the trustees had mismanaged the trust. There had been no attempt to separate the affairs of the trust and the company. There were unmanaged conflicts of interest and loyalty related to directorships of associated companies and contracts entered into by some of the trustees. Some of the conflicts were so intrinsically linked to the trust’s administration that they could not be managed. The inquiry also found poor governance, lack of due diligence and inadequate record keeping on the part of the trust’s trustees and company directors. The trust was wound up and the surplus assets transferred to charities with similar objectives.


Neal Green at the Commission has published a blogpost about the new CC3 one year on.

Safer giving announcement

The Commission has reminded the public about its guidance on safer giving following the sentencing of a funeral director for fraud and abuse of trust resulting in loss to charity of over £14,000. The funeral director had stolen cheques written in memory of individuals whose funerals she had arranged and covered up the crime by writing fake letters from charities to relatives.

Future events

Sarah Atkinson is presenting a talk entitled “What should every charity trustee know? An update from the Charity Commission” at Birmingham Voluntary Service Council (BVSC) on 29 September:

The Charity Commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel are holding the second national charity fraud conference on 29 October.


New Philanthropy Capital has published “It starts from the top”, a report outlining how “we can improve charity governance and, by extension, the impact of the sector as a whole”.

Tax and VAT

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme (GASDS)

HMRC has published a summary of responses to the recent consultation together with proposed next steps which include bringing forward legislation to:

  • remove the current two-year rule and the Gift Aid history requirement entirely
  • include contactless payments within GASDS
  • amend the community buildings rules to allow donations received outside of the community building but within the same local authority area in which the community building is based to qualify.

Note, despite representations from the sector,  HMRC is not proposing to increase the small donations limit from its current level of £20.

HMRC has launched a technical consultation on draft regulations setting out the detailed operating models for intermediaries who administer Gift Aid on behalf of charities.  The consultation closes on 5 October 2016. The government's response will be published and draft Regulations will be made later in 2016 with the intention of coming into effect in April 2017.  


Exit process

The Independent reports Ministers are  in discussions over a further delay in triggering Article 50 because Theresa May’s new Brexit and international trade departments will not be ready. Sadiq Khan also advocated delaying the process until the autumn of 2017 after the French and German elections are over, as he believes that a delay could mean French and German political leaders being more likely to look to longer-term beneficial ties rather than taking a tough stance to attract voters.   

Sector implications

Science research - The Treasury has announced it will underwrite funding for approved Horizon 2020 projects applied for before the UK leaves the European Union.  Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s flagship research and innovation programme aimed at securing Europe’s global competitiveness.    

Other assurances set out by the Treasury include :

  • all structural and investment fund projects, including agri-environment schemes, signed before the Autumn Statement will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU
  • the Treasury will also put in place arrangements for assessing whether to guarantee funding for specific structural and investment fund projects that might be signed after the Autumn Statement, but while we remain a member of the EU. Further details will be provided ahead of the Autumn Statement

International development – BOND has published a blog about “Aid for Trade” i.e.  UK aid being used as a tool in negotiating favourable trade deals for Britain

Health – not recent, but this 30th June article from Kings Fund sets out 5 key Brexit implications for health  

Also see under Scotland below.


Fundraising Regulator (FR)

The FR has said it will be publishing its Business Plan and Budget next month. In the meantime, it hasadded more information to its website about its start-up costs and how it plans to remunerate our Board members, and it has also sent out the first of its planned monthly newsletters. The FR says future newsletters will be published during the first week of each month and will cover:

  • the developments and progress that it is making with the Fundraising Preference Service, complaints process, Levy and Registration system.
  • the investigations and adjudications that it has underway
  • anything else that the FR feels is important, such as the latest advice on GDPR

You can sign up for the newsletter by clicking on the “Register for updates” button on this webpage.

Commercial partnerships

See below under Advertising for a ruling about a TV ad for “Age UK Hearing Aids”.

Public authorities

The Immigration Act 2016 introduces a requirement for “public authorities” to ensure anyone in a public-facing role speaks fluent English.  This is likely to come into force in October 2016.  In July, the Governmentpublished a draft code of practice on complying with this.  “Public authorities” is defined in section 78 of the Immigration Act 2016, as bodies which carry out functions of a public nature. The guidance states this includes central government departments, non-departmental public bodies, councils and other local government bodies, NHS bodies, state-funded schools, the police and the armed forces, and public corporations.  The duty will not initially apply to voluntary sector or private sector providers of public services. However, Part 7 of the Immigration Act 2016 gives a power to extend the duty to these sectors at a later date.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has published its Annual Report for 2015-2016, including ethics for regulators, policing and party funding.

Social enterprise

The Community Interest Company Regulator has published its annual report which includes:

  • That the number of community interest companies (CICs) on the public register grew by 12%  and the number of companies wishing to convert to CIC status increased  by 37%
  • Detailed information on complaints received by the CIC Regulator.  The most frequently received complaints centred on the conduct of directors and delivery of community benefit along with financial mismanagement and unpaid invoices.   Very few complaints about asset transfer were received.  See page 16 of the report for more on complaints.

See here for a list of community Interest companies registered last month.



See under Public authorities above.

Higher education

See Science research section under Brexit above.


Charity Finance Group has led a call for a delay in the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in order to “protect the quality of apprenticeships and skills investment”.  

Meanwhile, the Department for Education has now published proposals for how the apprenticeships support package for employers in England will work from May 2017. See here for comment from Charity Tax Group.

Health and social care

See under Brexit and Public authorities above, and under Data protection and Freedom of information below.

Monitor has published the conclusion of its investigation into the commissioning of elective services in North East London.

Last month the Care Quality Commission published a new good practice guide – Managing care home closures – to help minimise the impact on people, and their families and carers, in the event of a care home closing.

Faith based organisations

Third Sector Research Centre has published  a paper “Belief in Social Action: Exploring faith groups’ responses to local needs”.  

Also see under Company Names below.

International development

See under Brexit above.

Arts and culture

The Culture Secretary has announced a new scheme to give six hundred schoolchildren access to a range of cultural activities, such as free visits to local plays, behind the scenes access to museums and galleries, and exclusive trips to world class venues. The first pilots of the Cultural Citizens Programme will be launched in September in Liverpool and Blackpool, Birmingham, and Barking and Dagenham. The programme targets disadvantaged communities where fewer people currently visit museums, galleries or the theatre.

Goddard Inquiry

Professor Alexis Jay is to take over as chair, after serving as a member of the current inquiry panel. A child protection expert with over 30 years’ experience, Professor Jay led the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham which found that at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Company names

People United for Christ, Inc. has successfully applied to the Company Names Tribunal for an order that a company named “PEOPLE UNITED FOR CHRISTIANS INC LTD” be ordered to change its name.

Data protection

GP practice that revealed confidential details about a woman and her family to her estranged ex-partner has been fined £40,000 by the Information Commissioner. The information was provided after the ex-partner made a request for the medical records of the former couple’s son. Staff at the GP practice responded with 62 pages of information that included the woman’s contact details as well as those of her parents and an older child the man was not related to.

The European Commission has published an implementing decision for the Privacy Shield framework for EU-US personal data transfers in a commercial context.   The decision entered into force on the day of its publication in the Official Journal on 1 August 2016.   The Commission has also published a guide for citizens explaining how individuals' data protection rights are guaranteed under the Privacy Shield and what remedies are available for individuals, if they consider their data has been misused and their data protection rights have not been respected.

Freedom of information

The Information Commissioner's Office has published a decision notice finding that a local council could not rely on “commercial interests” exemptions from disclosure and must respond to requests for information relating to the performance of Domiciliary Care Services providers (DCS providers) which had been awarded contracts with the council.


BCAP has amended the BCAP Code rule relating to "direct exhortations" to children - ads which directly exhort children to buy or to persuade their parents to buy a product are still prohibited, but the BCAP code now no longer prohibits advertisements which merely encouraged children to ask their parents to either buy products or enquire about them.   

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has:

  • not upheld a complaint that a TV ad for “Age UK Hearing Aids” gave a misleading impression the hearing aids would be supplied by Age UK.  
  • upheld three complaints from the parents of children under 12 about four ads shown on YouTube for the mobile phone operator Three.  
  • upheld a complaint that a TV ad for The Health Lottery was misleading and unsubstantiated.


The High Court has held that the procurement exercise conducted by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was ‘fudged’ and ‘manipulated’ and resulted in one of the largest contracts ever put out to tender by the Government being unlawfully awarded.  See here for a detailed briefing from BWB’s Claire Whittle and Emma Dowden-Teale.

Also see under Health above.


Charity Finance Group (CFG) and PKF Littlejohn have launched “Countering fraud: a guide for the UK charity sector”.  It can be downloaded here.


The Guardian reports the Scottish government is to spend £100m on a new initiative to help cushion the economy from the impacts of a post-EU referendum downturn. Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement follows her visit to Berlin last week where she met Germany’s Europe minister, Michael Roth, where she again set out her case for a favourable deal for Scotland with the EU in the Brexit negotiations.

BBC News reported Scotland’s finance secretary has said that the Treasury’s pledge to replace EU funding (see under Brexit above) does not go far enough as the funding leaves Scotland “hundreds of millions of pounds short of what we would receive as members of the EU”.

David Robb at OSCR has published a blogpost entitled “Brexit: are you a meerkat or an ostrich?

OSCR has published a revised version of its briefing note on the Scottish Water Charges and Sewerage Exemption Scheme for charities and CASCs which is administered by the Scottish Government.

Northern Ireland

The NI Minister for Communities, Paul Givan MLA, has announced a review of CCNI, which will be undertaken by a senior civil servant, with external advice on charity law and regulation. The review will focus on CCNI’s strategic approach to regulation activities, current governance arrangements and assessing relationships across key stakeholders and is expected to take two months, following which a final report will be presented to the Minister.

NICVA has launched the latest State of the Sector research, which provides information on the size, scope and finances of the Northern Ireland Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector. This State of the Sector is presented in a new online resource which can be accessed here.

The Guardian Charity Awards

BWB is proud to be sponsoring the Guardian Charity Awards 2016. If you haven’t yet entered your charity into the Guardian Charity Awards, you have until Friday 19th August to complete your entry. You can find tips and submit your entry for free here.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 17/08/2016 in Legal Updates

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