BWB Highlights

For an outline of the legal backdrop to the UK leaving the EU, see this short briefing on our website.

BWB are holding a breakfast seminar on 13 July to discuss your queries and concerns following Brexit. See below for more details.

At a glance

The Charity Commission has begun a consultation on its new warning power.

The Charity Commission has also published its latest report on public trust and confidence in charities.

The Charity Commission has released its 2016 Annual Return.

Big Society Capital has published the results of research carried out by New Philanthropy Capital into social investment tax relief.

The Cabinet Office has launched an £80 million ‘Life Chances Fund’ to support Social Impact Bonds to “help transform people's lives”.

The Commission on the Donor Experience has announced its first 25 projects.

EU Referendum

Exit process and constitutional issues

The House of Commons Library has published:

                - whether Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union is the only route to leaving the EU.

                - whether EU law will continue to have effect in the UK.

                - the reactions of other EU countries to the outcome of the referendum.

The House of Lords Library has published:

BWB has published a short explanation of exiting the EU – how it could work.

Sector specific implications

A reminder, this is NCVO’s briefing on implications for the voluntary sector.

DSC has published “What does Brexit mean for the charity sector?

Charity Times reports charity leaders have called for an urgent summit on charity protections post-Brexit.

Also see specific links under Education below.

Charity Commission

Consultation on new Warning Power

The Commission has launched a twelve week public consultation on its proposed approach to exercising its new power under the Charities Act 2016 to issue an official warning to charities when it considers that there has been a breach of trust or duty, or other misconduct or mismanagement in the charity. There is a consultation summary paper and a draft guidance paper.  The Commission also issued a press release providing further details about the consultation.

See this Civil Society Media article which includes detailed comment from BWB Partner Rosamund McCarthy.

Public trust and confidence in charities

The Commission has reported that public trust and confidence has fallen to its lowest level since monitoring began in 2005, according to a report produced by Populus for the Commission. The five main reasons people gave for trusting charities less were:

  1. Media stories about a charity/charities generally (33%)
  2. Media coverage about how charities spend donations (32%)
  3. Don’t trust them/I don’t know where the money goes (21%)
  4. They use pressurising techniques, including in fundraising (18%)
  5. Too much money is spent on advertising/wages (15%)

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Commission, has posted on the Commission’s blog on the subject of how public trust and confidence in charities can be rebuilt. There has also been an article in the Guardian by the Chair of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross, on this subject.

2016 Annual Return

The Commission has released the format of its 2016 Annual Return. For the first time, this is a fully bilingual service in English and Welsh. The Commission has said that the function to view and amend details about a charity’s trustees, contact addresses and emails is now separate from the annual return, so users can update these details at any time. Charities will also be asked to confirm that this information is correct before submitting their annual return. There are also small changes to the financial information required of charities with an income of £500,000 and over, reflecting the changes needed as a result of the new SORP.

Company law

A reminder of changes from 30 June:

  • companies will be submitting confirmation statements instead of annual returns. Companies House guidance is available here.
  • on incorporation, companies will have to submit a statement of initial control explaining who their Person with Significant Control (PSCs) are.
  • finally the central PSC registers have been launched, allowing companies to keep their statutory registers at Companies House instead of at their registered office or other location. Companies House guidance is available here.

For more background, see this BWB Briefing on the changes.

Fundraising and Commissioning

The Cabinet Office has launched an £80 million ‘Life Chances Fund’ to support Social Impact Bonds (SIB) to “help transform people's lives”.   The fund is structured around 6 key themes:

  • drug and alcohol dependency
  • children’s services
  • early years
  • young people
  • older people’s services
  • healthy lives

Applications for proposals focused on children’s services and tackling drug and alcohol dependency are now open, to be followed by the other themes over the next 12 months.  The fund will also support a new academic centre, “Go Lab”, to understand and measure new approaches for the public sector to commission services.  The GO Lab will “deepen understanding of outcomes-based commissioning, including social impact bonds, by researching new ways for the public sector to commission services.”


Fundraising Preference Service

Following Scotland’s decision to adopt a different system of self-regulation, it seems unlikely the Fundraising Preference Service will apply to Scottish donors.  See more under Scotland below.

Commission on the Donor Experience

You may remember last year this was one of the sector responses to the media stories about fundraising.  It is an “independent initiative working to improve the experience of charity donors in the UK”.   Launched by Ken Burnett, and now chaired by Sir Martyn Lewis, the Commission has announced its first 25 projectsthough no details are given of when or how the projects will report their “recommendations”.   

Face to face fundraising/public collections

A new street fundraising Site Management Agreement with Birmingham City Council came into effect last week.  

Giving Tuesday

Will be on 29 November this year.  

Also see under Scotland below.

Data protection

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published its annual report.  

According to Civil Society Media, in the nine months between August 2015 and March 2016, the Information Commissioner's Office received 260 complaints about charities.

Social finance

Big Society Capital has published the results of research carried out by New Philanthropy Capital into social investment tax relief.  According to NPC’s research, charities and social enterprises have received £3.4m in two years thanks to Social Investment Tax Relief.  

Also see item under Funding and Commissioning above.

Social enterprise

Last chance to respond to Call for Evidence – Mission-Led Business Review

In relation to the Mission-Led Business Review, the Cabinet Office are currently calling for evidence in response to the attached Call For Evidence which closes on 8 July 2016. If you are intending to respond, please make sure you get your responses in before this deadline.

Onboard Consultant, Marta Maretich has had an article published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about “Governance: The Secret to Mission Driven Success”. 


BWB has published this Brexit update for the education sector.

Also see here for a message about how the referendum result affects the Department for Education.

Higher education

See this statement from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, on higher education and research following the EU referendum.

Health and social care

Official statistics released last week show that councils are planning to invest an extra £308 million this year on adult social care services. 

Charities working internationally

See under Fraud and anti-money laundering below.


New Philanthropy Capital has published a new report “Giving More and Better: How the philanthropy sector can help unlock private wealth for public good.”  

See this Philanthropy Impact blog about philanthropy and impact investing.  

Public interest litigation

Justice, the human rights organisation, has produced guidance to assist third party interveners in High Court and Court of Appeal cases to ensure that they always add value to the court's deliberations and are not at risk of being penalised in costs.

Fraud, anti-money laundering and risk


Charity Finance Group has produced a free guide “Countering Fraud:  A guide for the UK Charity Sector”.  

Anti money laundering

Civil Society Media reports that a FATFA policy which required banks to assume that international charities were at high risk of being used to finance terrorism has been revised to clarify that that is not the case.   


Together with CFG, Sayer Vincent has written a new publication, “Rethinking Risk:  Beyond the Tick Box”.   It is available to download for free.


Public trust and confidence in charities

Like the Charity Commission, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR ) has also published the results of a public survey about charities this week. The Scottish survey is different to the English/Welsh one, so it is difficult to compare them directly, but OSCR’s reporting of the results suggests a more positive view of charities in Scotland. However, OSCR has reported a small overall decrease in trust, with negative media reports a contributing factor.

OSCR has published its Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016.

Self-regulation of fundraising in Scotland

Scotland has opted not to join in with the new Fundraising Regulator but instead for charities themselves and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) to take on an enhanced role in regulating fundraising. In addition, a new independent panel comprising members of the public, donors, charities, fundraisers, OSCR and the Scottish Government, will be convened to develop a robust set of standards for all charities, setting a high bar for fundraising in Scotland.  And, a new Freephone fundraising complaints line and website will be set up to provide guidance to members of the public on how to raise complaints.  For more see here. In terms of what this means for charities operating in Scotland but registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it appears they will continue to be answerable to the Fundraising Regulator and will not be subject to the self regulation regime in Scotland. 

Northern Ireland

Public trust and confidence in charities

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has undertaken its first major research into public trust and confidence in charities and the report, entitled Public trust and confidence in charities will be published on Tuesday 6 September 2016.

SORP consultation event

CCNI, in conjunction with CIPFA and the Centre for Not-for-profit and Public Sector Research at Queen’s University Belfast, will hold a SORP consultation event on Thursday 1 September 2016 (11am to 1pm) at the Lanyon Building, Queens University Belfast (Canada Room). The event is part of a UK-wide public consultation looking at how the new Charities SORP can be further improved.


New from Get Legal

BWB Get Legal brings you a range of top-quality, affordable legal documents, available to download and customise to your specifications. Every document has been drafted by our expert solicitors.

Click here to view our Data Protection policy document.


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.

Christine Rigby photo

Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

+44(0)20 7551 7712

View full information about Christine Rigby

Posted on 05/07/2016 in Legal Updates

Back to Knowledge