BWB Highlights

Established charitable companies may be able to convert to charitable incorporated organisations (CIOs) from later this year. See today’s Briefing for a consultation on conversion regulations.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has revised its guidance for charities on the EU Referendum.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published an updated version of its “Direct Marketing” guidance.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint that a clothing collection bag delivered to houses by a commercial company gave a misleading impression that consumers would be donating directly to the charity.

Big Society Capital has published its first comprehensive estimate of the size and shape of social investment in the UK.

The government has launched its Children’s Social Care Innovation programme which is backed by funding totalling £200 million.

Charity Commission

EU Referendum guidance

The Commission has revised its guidance for charities on the EU Referendum in response to criticism of the original version, including criticism from BWB. The Commission has issued a statement and a blog postfrom Sarah Atkinson.

CCNI has now published guidance for Northern Irish charities on campaigning in the run up to the EU Referendum. The guidance has a similar tone and approach to OSCR’s guidance for Scottish charities. CCNI say that Northern Irish charities may engage with the referendum process in a range of ways, from assessing the possible impact and monitoring the result, to actively taking part through campaigning for a particular outcome. However, this must be done in accordance with the charity law rules on campaigning and political activity.

New registration service

The Commission website now includes a new registration application form and online registration service.  

Case reports

The Commission has published case reports into:

Inquiry Reports

The Commission has published inquiry reports on:

Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016

BWB’s Alice Faure Walker has been quoted in this Third Sector article which highlights the possible implications of the Charity Commission’s new powers. 

Conversion of companies to CIOs

The Charity Commission has published a consultation (and draft regulations) on conversion. The consultation closes on 10th June, and the provisional timetable for implementation is below.  

Proposed conversion timetable for charitable companies to CIOs

  • 1 October 2016: Charitable companies with an annual income greater than £500,000;
  • 1 December 2016: Charitable companies with an annual income between £250,000 and £500,000;
  • 1 February 2017: Charitable companies with an annual income between £100,000 and £250,000;
  • 1 April 2017: Charitable companies with an annual income between £25,000 and £100,000; and
  • 1 July 2017: Charitable companies with an annual income of less than £25,000

Proposed conversion timetable for CICs to CIOs: 1 October 2017

As part of the process, section 1099(3) of the Companies Act 2006 would be amended to add charitable incorporated organisations to the list of bodies to which the existing index of company names maintained by the Registrar of Companies relates. This would prevent new companies from being registered if their proposed name were the same as or too similar to the name of a CIO.

Tax and VAT

HM Treasury's summary of responses to its business rates review consultation paper confirms that charity relief from business rates will be maintained at its current level.


ICO updated Direct mail guidance

On 24th March, the Information Commissioner’s Office published an updated version of its “Direct Marketing” guidance.   This is an accompanying blog.

Fundraising Preference Service

Civil Society Media reports the Institute of Fundraising as saying proposals for the Fundraising Preference Service must be more "thoroughly reviewed and assessed" in order to address fundraisers' "ongoing concerns" about the process.  The one month consultation period on initial proposals ended at the end of March. The full IOF response can be read here.  

Self regulation/Fundraising Regulator

Two additional board members have been appointed to the Fundraising Regulator.  

FRSB adjudication against Age UK

The Fundraising Standards Board has upheld a complaint against Age UK, ruling that the charity had breached the Code of Fundraising Practice in April 2015 when calling an individual registered with the Telephone Preference Service to ask him to consider leaving a gift to the charity in his Will. The Board of the FRSB reviewed the complaint in light of fundraising standards in place at the time the call was made, which allowed charities to contact TPS-registered donors if they judged that their relationship with those donors was sufficiently warm. However, the FRSB concluded there was no evidence of a warm donor relationship with the complainant. 

Clothing collections

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint that a clothing collection bag delivered to houses by a commercial company (Recycle Proline) gave a misleading impression that consumers would be donating directly to the charity.  The bag was headlined “Cancer Research & Genetics UK” on both sides and also included the “Charity Ref No.”. Text on one side of the bag provided the collection details and stated “Please HELP us to raise funds for Cancer Research & Genetics UK”. Text on the other side stated “Fundraises to further our campaign to raise awareness of cancer and its genetics links in UK and Europe. Help us by donating ...” and listed the items they would accept. Additional smaller text on the right-hand side stated “Recycle Proline Ltd is a commercial company which collects second hand clothing and donate [sic] at least £3200 per month to Cancer Research & Genetics UK from the proceeds of sale …”.  The ASA has told Recycle Proline Ltd to ensure that their ads make clear to consumers that they are a commercial company and that recipients are not donating directly to a charity.

Social finance

The Cabinet Office has announced a partnership with the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford to create a new centre of excellence for Social Impact Bonds and innovative government commissioning, called the Government Outcomes Lab.


On 21 March 2016, the FCA published a policy statement on changes to the FCA Handbook relating to the segregation of client money on loan-based crowdfunding platforms, the introduction of the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) and the new regulated activity of advising on peer-to-peer agreements (PS16/8).

New guidelines on remuneration by finance/financial services organisations

On 31 March 2016, ESMA published its final report (ESMA/2016/411) on guidelines on sound remuneration policies under the UCITS V Directive (2014/91/EU) and Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011/61/EU) (AIFMD). The guidelines will apply from 1 January 2017. UCITS management companies are required to establish and apply remuneration policies and practices that are consistent with, and promote, sound and effective risk management, and do not encourage risk-taking that is inconsistent with the risk profiles, rules or instruments of incorporation of the UCITS they manage. For more information on the UCITS V and AIFMD remuneration requirements, see: UCITS V Directive (2014/91/EU) and Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (2011/61/EU) (AIFMD).

Social investment

In March Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, made this speech about why the investment market should help “connect its customers with causes they care about”.  

And Big Society Capital published its first comprehensive estimate of the size and shape of social investment in the UK.  

Big Society Capital has also published the latest in its series about the gritty reality of social investment, this time from an investor’s perspective.  

Philanthropy Impact has published this blog about the role of social investment in philanthropy.

Social enterprise

In late March, the Minister for Civil Society launched a review to increase the economic and social impact of mission-led businesses in the UK economy.

Goddard Inquiry

BWB are writing a series of blogs regarding the recent Goddard Inquiry. The first blog gives an introduction to the inquiry. 


Early years

The Childcare Act 2016 has received Royal Assent.  Among other things, it requires the Secretary of State to make available free childcare for 30 hours for 38 weeks of any year, for qualifying children of working parents in England who are under compulsory school age.  The substantive provisions of the Act will come into force on a date to be appointed by regulations.   

Multi-academy trusts

On 21 March 2016, the Parliamentary Education Committee launched an inquiry into the performance, accountability and governance of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs).  

Schools causing concern

On 24 March 2016, the Department for Education updated its statutory guidance on schools causing concern to reflect the new intervention powers for the Secretary of State introduced by the Education and Adoption Act 2016 (EAA 2016) where a maintained school is failing and to challenge schools that are coasting.

Children's services

The government has launched its Children’s Social Care Innovation programme which is backed by funding totalling £200 million.  The aim is to kick-start proposals for new ways of delivering vital help for troubled children and young people. Councils and charities are being asked to put forward bids for funding. 

ACEVO has launched 'Coming in from the Cold', a report on loneliness among young people in London.


NAVCA has published its analysis of local charities' relationship with health bodies, based on its 2015 survey of Chief Officers.

Faith based organisations

New Philanthropy Capital has been carrying out some research into the role of faith based charities.   Some initial insights have been published in this article in the Jewish Chronicle.

Museums and galleries

partnership between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Wolfson Foundation, will jointly funds grants worth more than £4 million to be used for renovation and improvement projects in museums and galleries.

International development

The government has published this rebuttal of a number of recent media stories about UK aid.


The House of Lords Select Committee on the Equality Act 2010 and Disability which has been investigating the Act's impact on disabled people has concluded that the Government is failing in its duty of care to disabled people.


See item above under Social Investment.

Consumer law

The Competition and Markets Authority has published a series of new short form "at a glance" guides to help businesses understand what terms are likely to be considered "fair" and "unfair" when used in a consumer contract.

"Prevent" duty

On 23 March 2016, the Home Office published an updated version of its Prevent duty guidance. The guidance has now been updated to include a Prevent e-learning training package, to assist local authorities in implementation of the Prevent duty. The package consists of introductory training designed as a foundation on which to develop further knowledge around the risks of radicalisation and the roles involved in supporting those at risk. 


Scotland’s charity regulator has published its updated Guidance and good practice for charity trustees, which sets out the role and responsibilities of trustees.

Northern Ireland

Updated online registration form

CCNI has reminded charities in Northern Ireland that there will be an updated online registration application form from the end of April 2016 and has issued FAQs about this.


The latest edition has been published and has articles on the updated charity registration application form, new thematic reports on concerns about charities, the public consultation on accounting and reporting guidance and the new EU Referendum guidance.

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Posted on 05/04/2016 in Legal Updates

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