BWB Highlights

BWB are contributors to the A4ID publication “EU Registration Options for NGOs – preparing UK-based NGOs for Brexit”. See today's Briefing for more details.

On 23rd February, BWB are hosting a breakfast and topical discussion on faith in public life with one of President Obama's "ambassadors to America's believers". See below for more information.

The Briefing is taking a break for a week and will return week commencing 27th February.


At a glance

In addition to its recently launched consultation, the Fundraising Regulator has announced some changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice.

The Law Commission report on technical issues in charity law (and draft bill) are now expected to be published this summer.

The Minister for Civil Society has announced that there will be another review of the Social Value Act.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, together with Equality Challenge Unit and Universities UK, has produced new guidance “A guide for higher education providers in England on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of Prevent”.

The Department for Communities & Local Government has released its long awaited housing white paper, “Fixing Our Broken Housing Market”.


Charity Commission

Case reports

The Commission has published a case report into Politics and Economics Research Trust (1121849), an educational charity which promotes for the public benefit research into matters of public taxation, public policy, applied economics and political science. Concerns had been raised with the Commission about the charity’s funding of two non-charitable organisations with political aims, Business for Britain and Taxpayers’ Alliance. The charity did not have formal grant agreements in place and did not have processes to monitor research projects. As a result of the Commission’s action, the trustees reviewed the research report produced by Business for Britain and asked for the funding to be returned to the charity, which happened at a later date, on the basis that the research report did not conform to what was agreed during the grant application stage, and because the trustees’ view was that the report represented a ‘position statement’ by Business for Britain, rather than forming a nuanced position on the UK’s relationship with the EU.

The Commission has published a case report into Oldham Owls Disability Sports Club (504371), a charity promoting active sports to disabled people. The charity was identified for monitoring by the Commission as one of a sample of charities that had previously submitted a serious incident relating to theft or fraud (there had been a theft from the charity’s bank account by a former trustee in 2013) and where the Commission took follow-up action to verify that the trustees had put appropriate steps in place to implement the Commission’s advice and to mitigate any further misappropriation of funds.

Inquiry report – double defaulter

The Commission has published the latest of its “double defaulter” inquiry reports, this time into M B Foundation (also known as Mossad Horav Moshe Aryeh Halevy, 222104). As a result of the inquiry, the charity has submitted its outstanding annual accounting information.

Board Member

Third Sector has reported that Commission Board Member Gwithian Prins has stepped down earlier than expected.


Charity law reform

The Law Commission report on technical issues in charity law (and draft bill) are now expected to be published this summer.


General

ACEVO, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), the Institute of Fundraising and CharityComms have published a report, ‘Charity Today’, aimed at giving people a better understanding of the contribution made to public life by charities as well as giving an insight into how they operate and how they are changing.   The report shows that every day, charities spend £136.4 million – equivalent to £1,578 per second – improving lives and supporting communities.


Brexit

Constitutional issues

On the EU law analysis blog, Professor Steve Peers has analysed the white paper released by the Government on Brexit.

Philip Allott has written an article considering the legal fallout from the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.

Economic implications

The LSE Brexit blog has published a piece stating that a hard Brexit, and leaving the single market, could slow down the UK’s creative industry – one of its most consistently growing sectors over the last decades. 

Data Protection

UK digital minister, Matt Hancock, gave evidence to the House of Lords Home Affairs sub-committee stating that it is likely the UK will mirror the major part of EU data protection law.


Funding

Third Sector reports that a letter has been sent to the Chancellor by NAVCA, Charity Finance Group, Institute of Fundraising, Association of Charitable Foundations, Voice4Change England, Social Enterprise UK, the Small Charities Coalition, Children England and Locality. The letter calls for, among other things, a more strategic approach to voluntary sector funding, 100 per cent mandatory business rate relief and more resources for the Charity Commission.


Campaigning

The Law Commission has published a consultation paper looking into ways that official information may be protected from unauthorised disclosure. The consultation runs for two months from 2 February 2016 until 3 April 2017.

Debra Morris, Director of the Charity Law and Policy Unit at Liverpool University has written this article “Legal limits on political campaigning by charities:  drawing the line”.  The article is free to access for the month of February.


Fundraising

Fundraising Regulator (FR)

Changes to the Code made as of February 2017

The FR’s February newsletter announced that the following amendments have been made to the Code:

  • 2.2.2.13.2.1 d)15.2.2 b)L13.4.2 b):  Where references were made to the Criminal Records Bureau this has been changed to the Disclosure and Barring Service
  • 9.3.3 Online Trading, Trading Subsidiaries and e-commerce: b) Organisations MUST* comply with all relevant consumer law and digital commerce legislation including the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
  • 9.6.2 SMS and MMS: h) Users MUST* be able to exercise their opt-out choice from any message, free of charge (except for the costs of the transmission of the refusal).

Consultation on changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

The FR will be holding webinars and attending events with key stakeholders across the country, to discuss the proposed changes and encourage formal response to the consultation.  A live webinar hosted by NCVO will take place on 1st March - further details for this to be published nearer the time.

IOF accreditation scheme for public fundraisers

IOF looks set to launch a new public fundraising accreditation programme for members.   It will apply to charities with in-house fundraising teams as well as agencies. Initially however, the programme will only focus on those organisations carrying out regular individual giving by direct debit.

House to house clothing collections

Listen here for a Radio 5 Live Investigates programme about bogus clothing collections.


Social finance

Crowdfunding

BWB’s Andrew Dougall has written this article about crowdfunding options in the UK. 

2017: Social impact bonds

In this Pioneers Post article, David Hunter (a consultant at BWB, writing in a personal capacity) reflects on the challenges and opportunities faced by traditional SIB structures, and explores potential routes which could pave a way forward in their use and development.

Futurebuilders Fund announces half of loans now repaid

Pioneers Post also reports that The Futurebuilders Fund, as managed by Social Investment Business and one of the earliest social investment funds to be launched in the UK, has now had more than 50% of its granted loans now repaid (£58.5m repaid from a total of £117m loaned out). The repaid money will be recycled for further social investment through the Access Foundation. It will go towards the two capacity building programmes run by Access: the Reach Fund and the Impact Management programme.

Social Finance announces first investment from its Bright Futures SITR Fund

Civil Society Media reports that Social Finance has announced that it has made its first investment from its Bright Futures SITR Fund - 18 months after it was first launched - into Ability Tec, a Bolton-based social enterprise which makes circuit boards and other contract electrical manufacturing products to order and three-quarters of whose employees are disabled. Ability Tech will receive an unsecured loan of £260,000, repayable over five years, and will use the money to double the size of its workforce and to refinance some of its existing higher-cost financing. Social Finance’s Bridge Futures SITR Fund has to date raised £1.5m from more than 40 UK tax-payers, and was the UK’s first nationwide SITR fund. It has a particular focus on those that are working to improve the lives of children, young people and other vulnerable groups throughout the UK.

ESELA Annual Conference 2017

The European Social Enterprise Law Association (ESELA Annual Conference) will be taking place this year on 28 April in Brussels on the theme of 'Teaming Up in the Middle: How Business and Not for Profits Jointly Create Social Impact'.

The Annual Conference is open to anyone with an interest in the relationship between law and social enterprise.

Whilst the discussions will have a legal flavour and focus, there will be a mix of perspectives from entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors, policy specialists and legal experts. The theme of ‘teaming up’ will be explored for international development, the welfare state, social impact bonds, alternative finance and social funds. It is a varied and lively agenda, including:

  • a keynote address from the Belgian-Flanders Minister of Social Welfare, Jo Vandeurzen
  • an update from Patrick Klein of the European Commission on its legal policies and plans for social enterprise
  • an overview from Katerina Hadzi-Miceva Evans, Executive Director of ECNL on the development of social enterprise in Eastern Europe
  • case studies from Close the GapInclusie Invest - the social purpose company raising capital for disabled people; VDAB - the regulatory authority for the labor market in Flanders; and SI2 Fund - the social investment fund
  • reflections from leading policy experts and practitioners, including Oxfam and BNP Paribas
  • legal perspectives from leading legal experts

We also have a wealth of other prominent local and international speakers from leading organisations in their respective fields and there will be plenty of time for discussion of legal issues and networking.

You can see the full agenda and book your tickets on the following link for the Annual Conference. There is also a Group Reservation of hotel rooms at the Hilton, though early booking is highly recommended.


Social value

Civil Society Media reports that the minister for civil society has announced that there will be another review of the Social Value Act. In this news item, Social Enterprise UK has welcomed the announcement.


Education

Schools

The New Schools Network has published a report “The Two Cultures: Do schools have to choose between the EBacc and the arts?

The Schools Minister has talked to the Music and Drama Expo about arts as part of a broad and balanced curriculum.  

Also see under Scotland below.

Higher Education

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, together with Equality Challenge Unit and Universities UK, has produced new guidance to help universities comply with the Prevent duty.  The new guidance “A guide for higher education providers in England on how to use equality and human rights law in the context of Prevent” is intended to help universities in England protect students while balancing their duties under equality and human rights law. 


International development

BWB are contributors to the A4ID publication EU Registration Options for NGOs - Preparing UK-based NGOs for Brexit.  With the UK referendum decision in 2016 in favour of leaving the EU, increasing numbers of UK-based development partners have been considering whether to establish an additional or alternative presence in the EU.   Some wish to remain able to access grants from the EU, while others wish to remain engaged in EU-led debates and processes. This publication explores the options for registration as an NGO or social enterprise in five countries in Europe to help organisations decide which may be most suitable for them.

BWB’s Stephanie Biden is speaking at an upcoming seminar concerning EU registration options, which is being hosted by NCVO and Advocates for International Development.  See here for details.


Faith-Based Organisations

BWB’s Faith-Based Organisations group are hosting a breakfast and topical discussion on faith in public life with one of President Obama’s “ambassadors to America’s believers”.  Michael Wear, one of the youngest White House staffers in American history, is a leading expert and strategist at the intersection of faith, politics and American public life. Michael directed faith outreach for President Obama’s historic 2012 re-election campaign. He also served in the White House faith-based initiative during President Obama’s first term, where he helped manage The White House’s engagement on religious and values issues, including adoption and anti-human trafficking efforts.


Arts and culture

See under Education above.


Housing

On Tuesday 7 February, the Department for Communities & Local Government released its long awaited housing white paper, entitled “Fixing Our Broken Housing Market”.  BWB’s Neil Lambert summarises the proposed changes here


Local authorities

The Parliamentary Communities and Local Government committee is to consider whether overview and scrutiny arrangements of local authorities in England are working effectively and whether local communities are able to contribute to and monitor the work of their local authorities.

Written evidence is invited on various matters, including:

  • Whether scrutiny committees in local authorities in England are effective in holding decision-makers to account and the extent to which such committees operate with political impartiality and independence from executives.
  • Whether scrutiny officers are independent of and separate from those being scrutinised and how topics for scrutiny are selected.
  • How chairs and members are selected and the support that political leaders and senior officers give to the scrutiny function.

The closing date for written submissions, which can include examples of where scrutiny has worked well or not so well, is 10 March 2017.


Scotland

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has stated in a response to a written question that the Scottish Government does not have any plans to review the charitable status of independent schools at present.

OSCR is publicising Take Five to stop fraud, a national campaign led by Financial Fraud Action UK.


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Stephen Lloyd Awards 2017

Got an innovative idea? Apply to the Stephen Lloyd Awards!

The 2017 Stephen Lloyd Awards has today opened for entries and are encouraging anyone, or any organisation, with an innovative idea seeking to address a problem systemically, to apply. The aim of the awards, in line with Stephen’s own approach, is to help create success by finding and supporting innovative ideas and projects that can lead to practical, sustainable social change. The awards committee is particularly interested in supporting ideas that address social problems at a systemic level.

Entries for the awards will close on 7th April 2017.

Applications should be emailed to info@stephenlloydawards.org.

For more information about Stephen Lloyd Awards or specific guidelines for the application process, please visit the website here.


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 14/02/2017 in Legal Updates

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