BWB Highlights

Last Saturday was the two year anniversary of Stephen Lloyd's death. We remembered with affection our colleague, friend and forever inspirational senior partner. It is heartwarming to see theStephen Lloyd Awards go from strength to strength.

The BWB Briefing will be taking a Bank Holiday break next week, returning the week beginning 5th September.

At a glance

The Department for Education has published a consultation on its proposals to change the way that it funds free childcare and early years education.

The government has published its plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity by supporting healthier choices.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a review of the Arts Council’s position as a DCMS sponsored NonDepartmental Public Body (NDPB).

Charity Commission 

Charity Commission’s priorities

Paula Sussex has written a blogpost about the Commission’s work in 2016-17 towards its Strategic Plan. Some of the key points made in the blog include the following:

  • The Commission will intensify proactive work (mainly through visits, monitoring and accountancy casework and thematic work) with a view to a longer-term goal of shifting away from reactive casework to identifying new issues and risks
  • The Commission expects its caseload relating to fundraising complaints to rise.
  • The Commission will be communicating safeguarding lessons to trustees and staff in charities and refreshing its strategy on safeguarding through an expanded Safeguarding Advisory Group.
  • Fraud continues to be a major concern.
  • The Commission is working on improving digital self-servicing for charities, for example by enabling them to carry out simple transactions, such as changing the charity’s name, in a fully automated way. This will allow the Commission to redeploy staff to higher risk and more complex work.
  • The Commission will put additional resources into ensuring the Register remains accurate and meets regulatory needs.
  • The Commission does not think that its digital transformation will continue to compensate for the increase in workload it has seen over the past year and will continue to explore how to ensure it is funded sustainably.

Case report

The Commission has published a case report about how it widened the objects of the almshouse charity St Nicholas Hospital (214916)

New inquiry

The Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Gilbert Deya Ministries (1051722), a charity with objects to advance the Christian religion and provide assistance for persons in need, hardship and distress. The Commission has concerns regarding safeguarding at the charity, following the arrest of one of the trustees in 2014.

Digital strategy story retracted

Last week the Commission issued a story about the Commission going “100% digital by 2017” which was then retracted when some commentators noted that it included the statement that any documents not received in digital format will no longer be displayed online, and that instead the Commission will only acknowledge that it has received them. The Commission later said this was not the regulator’s position, see further this article in Civil Society.


Exit process

The Guardian reports:

  • key Government departments for exiting the EU (Brexit and International Trade) have only hired a fraction of the negotiators and experts required for the task ahead. Meanwhile, campaigners (including Scientists for EU) welcomed Philip Hammond’s announcement last week to replace EU funding but warned that the Government must also tackle longer term investment and the future relationship of the UK with EU science programmes.
  • trade negotiators and commentators weighed in on the huge task ahead for the UK Government in negotiating trade agreements with the EU and the rest of the world. The Guardian noted that the government will need to start talks on a new trading relationship with the EU, re-establish trading links with all major trading partners outside the EU, regain full membership of the WTO and re-sign the 39 trade deals covering 65 countries negotiated by the EU. An additional challenge for the Government is keeping Parliament updated when multiple negotiations are underway.

Sector impact

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, has said he was “disappointed” to see the Charity Commission's chair “underestimating the impact of Brexit” on the sector. Etherington’s letter to the Financial Times was in response to comments by William Shawcross last Monday, in which Shawcross noted EU funding as the principal challenge of charities post-Brexit. Etherington said: “There is indeed concern about EU funding, but the overall effects of Brexit for charities are wider”, noting that the “disruption to an effective regulatory environment” poses a bigger problem. See here for Civil Society Media’s summary.


IOF/PFRA merger

Following members of the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA) voting last week to approve the merger with the Institute of Fundraising, the final merger date is set for the 31st of August.  The merger will see the PFRA join with the IoF and form a new Compliance Directorate to support the fundraising community to improve professional standards.  The Directorate will be headed up by the PFRA’s Chief Executive, Peter Hills-Jones. 


In our 10th August Briefing we mentioned a High Court ruling that a council’s decision to cut funding to voluntary sector organisations which provided short breaks to disabled children was unlawful.  For more detailed analysis of the case, see this Briefing from BWB’s Emma Dowden-Teale.


Early years

The Department for Education published a consultation on its proposals to change the way that it funds free childcare and early years education. The proposals include:

  • introducing a new early years national funding formula for 3- and 4-year-olds
  • changing the way local authorities fund the early years providers in their area
  • making sure that children with special educational needs or disabilities attract the extra funding they need


The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper answering frequently asked questions about academies and free schools in England.


The government has published its plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity by supporting healthier choices.


CAF has carried out an analysis of the financial returns of 4,200 charities which list amateur sports as their sole cause between 2012 and 2014.  Among other things the analysis shows:

  • there was an 11% increase in the number of large amateur sports charities in England and Wales.
  • funding for amateur sports charities surged to £235 million per year – up 9%.

The Sport and Recreation Alliance reports that a new report from Deloitte has found that the turnover of sports activities and clubs, gyms and health clubs has grown by 6.1% year on year from 2010 to 2014 and is now estimated to be in excess of £15.3bn.

International development

The government has published its plan for action to significantly reduce childhood obesity by supporting healthier choices.

Culture and media

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a review of the Arts Council’s position as a DCMS sponsored NonDepartmental Public Body (NDPB).  The review will include:

  • Whether the functions performed by the Arts Council remain appropriate for a NDPB
  • How the Arts Council’s performance and effectiveness is assessed
  • The Arts Council’s standing; its engagement and its influence with Stakeholders
  • The Arts Council’s efficiency, effectiveness and governance.

Data protection

Hampshire County Council has been fined £100,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after documents containing personal details of over 100 people were found in a disused building.  Social care files, along with 45 bags of confidential waste, were found at Town End House, in Havant. They contained highly sensitive information about adults and children in vulnerable circumstances.  The documents were discovered by the new owners of the building when it was purchased in August 2014.


The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is supporting a free one day conference on 7 November in Dunfermline for Trustees Week.

Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) has launched a new blog and published its fist blogpost on the subject of the annual reporting duties of charities registered in Northern Ireland.  

CCNI has published its annual report and accounts for 2015-16.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 23/08/2016 in Legal Updates

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