BWB Highlights

It was lovely to see everyone who came to our Tea Party last week, and particular thanks to those who contributed during our panel discussion. See today’s briefing for details.

Together with HCT, BWB has published “The art of the possible in public procurement”, a guide for innovative commissioners. See below for more information.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has published more information about its stream of work with charities in financial difficulties.

Civil Society Media reports that the Commission has agreed to review the law on the advancement of health as a charitable purpose.

The explanatory notes to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 have been published.

ICSA has published guidance on the practice of minute taking. CAF has published ‘A Stronger Britain, How can charities build post-Brexit Britain”.

The Committee on Standards in Public Life has launched its report “Striking the balance – Upholding the Seven Principles of public life in regulation”.

Charity Commission

Charities in financial difficulties

Following on from the case reports we mentioned last week (into Gosling Sports Park and Success for All Foundation), the Commission has published more information about this stream of work with charities in financial difficulties including:

Inquiry Reports

The Commission has published its report into Bristol Community Church Trust (1044496). The case involved sexual abuse allegations being made directly to the Commission against the charity’s youth pastor. The Commission made it clear that its remit was confined to ensuring the trustees were complying with their charity law duties in relation to the handling of the allegations and safeguarding matters more generally within the charity. During the case, the Commission engaged with the Local Authority, the police and the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS), as well as the charity.

The latest report in the “double defaulter” class inquiry in relation to charities which have not submitted their annual accounting information has been published, this time into The Halo Initiative (1142541).

New inquiry

The Commission has announced that it has opened a statutory inquiry into Action Aid for Animals (1133543), a charity with objects to relieve the suffering of animals in need of care, which operates in Croatia and Romania.

Health charities/alternative medicine

Civil Society Media reports that the Commission has agreed to review the law on the advancement of health as a charitable purpose, following a threat of judicial review from charity The Good Thinking Society, which says that some health charities do not operate for the public benefit, particularly where they are set up to promote alternative therapies, which have unproven benefits. It is reported that the Commission will complete its review by July 2017.

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

The explanatory notes have finally been published.


ICSA has published guidance on the practice of minute taking.   ISCA members can download the guidance from this webpage.    

Civil Society Media has this report of the governance discussion at BWB’s Tea Party last week.  The panel were discussing “Have trustee’s duties changed in the last year?”   

Trustees' Week this year takes place from 7 to 13 November.   The Charity Commission has sent round this circular flagging various activities, including the NCVO/BWB Trustee Conference.  

Also see under Social Finance below.


This Parliamentary webpage sets out useful research on the impact of Brexit on key policy areas. It also explains the process for leaving the EU.


  • The Guardian reports the Treasury is facing calls to honour Boris Johnson’s promise to guarantee all funding for EU programmes after Brexit until at least 2020, as fresh concerns are raised that billions of pounds of regeneration projects across the UK are at risk. Greater Manchester council, for example, has said that around 90% of its regional development funding from the EU due between 2014 and 2020 is still not under contract, including projects worth more than £150m.  
  • Councils and other bodies only have until the Autumn Statement on 23 November to gain Whitehall approval for EU-funded structural and investment projects if they want a guarantee that their funding will continue beyond Brexit until 2020.
  • A Treasury spokeswoman highlighted a letter from Chancellor Hammond that set out the terms of the guarantees, and said that it was “working with departments on future arrangements”.

Sector implications

  • This article from Solicitor’s Journal outlines some of the potential impacts of Brexit on the charity sector, including loss of funding streams and reductions in charitable tax relief.
  • This article by Civil Society considers how legacy giving may be affected by Brexit.
  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has provided information on the number of UK authorised financial services firms that currently hold single market passports. The FCA’s letter to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee includes the following data on passport notifications under relevant single market directives to the FCA and to the PRA: (i) the total number of inbound and outbound passports handled by the FCA and PRA and the total number of UK authorised firms currently holding a passport; and (ii) the total number of firms with at least one passport under each relevant directive for both inbound and outbound passporting. The FCA further states that the issue of passporting should be a priority in Brexit negotiations.  

Social finance

GET INFORMED is a new joint initiative by Big Society Capital, The Charity Commission, Trustees Unlimited, Association of Chairs, Honorary Treasurer’s Forum, Reach Volunteering and Cass Centre for Charity Excellence. It will enable charity trustees and social enterprise non-executive directors to get free information and support as part of a new campaign to help boards understand the opportunities and risks of social investment.  

Speech on the FCA’s role in promoting innovation

Christopher Woolard, Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, delivered a speech last week at the BBA FinTech Banking Conference on the FCA’s role in promoting innovation. Christopher described the aims of the FCA’s Project Innovate, which has the key objective of providing innovators with support to navigate the regulatory systems and reduce barriers to innovation, while at the same time maintaining the same standards of regulation and consumer protection. You can read more here.

Also see under Brexit above and Philanthropy below. 

Social enterprise

See under Procurement below.


Fundraising ethics

Civil Society Media reports Rogare, the fundraising think tank based at Plymouth University, has published a white paper 'Rights Stuff: Fundraising’s ethics gaps and a new theory of fundraising ethics', which argues that fundraisers have a duty to both beneficiaries and donors.  It has called the new theory ‘Rights Balancing Fundraising Ethics’, and states: “Fundraising is ethical when it balances the duty of fundraisers to solicit support on behalf of their beneficiaries, with the right of donors not to be subjected to undue pressure to donate.” 


The Department for Education has published non statutory advice for employers, governing bodies, school leaders and staff in maintained schools and academies. It provides advice on keeping schools open on strike days, and explains the law on trade disputes and picketing. It also deals with other issues such as staff deployment, health and safety requirements, using volunteers, delivering the curriculum, examinations and contingency planning.


The Advertising Standards Agency has reversed a May 2016 ruling banning a Greenpeace anti-fracking advert.

Arts and culture

See item under Tax and VAT above.


Philanthropy Impact has published this article “The Future for Social Investment”.  

New Philanthropy Capital has published “Invest in Young Lives”, a report making the case that more philanthropic support should be channeled towards organisations helping disabled children and young people.


The Sport and Recreation Alliance has published the results of a new survey of sports clubs in England and Wales.


HCT and BWB have published “The art of the possible in public procurement”.  It is a publication aimed at Commissioners and other change-makers in public authorities in England and Wales. It is intended to be a part of a Commissioner’s toolkit, providing supporting argument as you seek to drive change in your organisations.

National social enterprise and procurement organisation Fusion21 has won the ‘Best Contribution to the Reputation of Procurement’ category in the Chartered Institute of Procurement (CIPS) Supply Management Awards 2016.


The Committee on Standards in Public Life has launched its report “Striking the balance – Upholding the Seven Principles of public life in regulation”.  The report reviews the extent to which regulators uphold the Seven Principles of Public Life.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 27/09/2016 in Legal Updates

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