BWB Highlights

Yesterday, the Institute of Fundraising launched an updated version of its guidance “Treating donors fairly”. This is guidance aimed at helping fundraisers recognise and respond appropriately to people in vulnerable circumstances.

A repeat from last year, BWB Breakfast Serial 2017 will distil the expertise of our sector-leading charity lawyers into nine bitesize seminars. See below for more information and to book onto the first seminar, Essential Charity Law, on 18 January. 

At a glance

HM Treasury has published a further consultation on simplifying the Gift Aid donor benefit rules.

The government has announced more than £300 million to “help young people from every background enjoy the benefits of music and the arts".

The government has announced £250,000 of ‘small grants funding’ to boost diverse communities across the country, and £700,000 funding to schemes to tackle hate crime in communities and protect places of worship.

New Philanthropy Capital has published “User voice: Putting people at the heart of impact practice”, a report explaining how charities can best harness the views and needs of their beneficiaries in order to improve their impact.

The Department of Health has published new guidance on adult social care market shaping.

Charity Commission

Inquiry Report

The Commission has published its inquiry report into All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (AWEMA, 1108479).  Both the inquiry report and the accompanying press release from the Commission contain comments by the Commission which are critical of the trustees, on the following issues: lack of training for trustees, failure to hold regular trustee meetings, failure to manage conflicts of interest (particularly for the CEO who was also a trustee), insufficient oversight of staff complaints, financial mismanagement and insufficient monitoring of charity expenses and staff benefits.

New inquiries

The Commission has announced that it has opened  inquiries into:

  • Mesifta Talmudical College (3120905), a charity to promote Jewish religious education and learning.
  • Save the Needy (1160579),  a charity with objects for the relief of poverty and financial need, in particular for those affected by natural or other disasters.

Tax and VAT

Gift Aid donor benefit rules

Earlier this year, HM Treasury carried out a consultation on simplifying the donor benefit rules.  It has now published a response to that consultation together with a further consultation which closes on 3 February 2017.


Political developments

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement this Wednesday, Philip Hammond has announced that the UK economy must be “watertight” to cope with “sharp” challenges ahead of Brexit.

Meanwhile, European leaders have come to a 27-nation consensus that a “hard Brexit” is likely to be the only way to see off future populist insurgencies, which could lead to the break-up of the European Union. According to senior officials at the highest levels of European governments, allowing Britain favourable terms of exit could represent an existential danger to the EU, since it would encourage similar demands from other countries with significant Eurosceptic movements.

Financial services

On 17 November, the House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee published written evidence received from HM Treasury in response to questions on the future of financial services in the UK following the Brexit vote. The 2-page written evidence can be found here.

The House of Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee also published written evidence received from the Association of Foreign Banks (AFB) on the future of financial services in the UK following the Brexit vote. In its written evidence, the AFB makes some general points, and also highlights the specific concerns of foreign banks categorised into three groups: UK branches of European Economic Area (EEA) banks, UK branches of non-EEA banks and UK incorporated subsidiaries of overseas banks. The written evidence can be found here.

Sector developments

Andrew O’Brien, head of Policy and Public Affairs at Charity Finance Group considers the impact of the Autumn statement for the charity sector in a post-Brexit future in this article in Third Sector. 


Fundraising with vulnerable people

Yesterday, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) launched an updated version of its guidance “Treating donors fairly”, which assists fundraisers in recognising and responding appropriately to people in vulnerable circumstances. 

Street fundraising

The IoF has announced half year figures compiled by IoF Compliance showing a significant improvement in street fundraising standards. The total number of recorded rule infractions by street fundraisers fell by 62% compared to last year. While the average number of breaches in 2015/16 was 38 per month, concerted efforts by both the IoF and charity and agency members has seen that figure cut to 17 per month. Most importantly, failure to provide solicitation statements - a key requirement that tells donors how much a fundraising agency is being paid to work on behalf of a charity – has fallen by a massive 74%.  

The IoF has also announced plans to: 

  • consult members on plans for a new accreditation programme designed to further strengthen fundraising standards.  The programme will apply to all public fundraising agencies and any charity operating an in-house public fundraising team. Covering a wide range of issues related to fundraising standards, such as members’ training and compliance systems, the IoF believes that accreditation would be a strong signal to the public that charities are committed to high standards.  The consultation will be launched before Christmas. 
  • consult members on establishing a permanent mystery shopping programme for private site fundraising. Private sites, such as shopping centres and train stations, are an important space for fundraising activity but not currently covered by IoF Compliance’s work programme. The decision follows a successful pilot programme for private site fundraisers involving a number of major charities.

What fundraising policies should a charity have?

The recently published IOF “Trustees and fundraising A practical handbook" recommends (page 31) the following fundraising policies:

  • Complaints
  • Acceptance/refusal of donations
  • Working with vulnerable people
  • Working with third parties, commercial partners and volunteers
  • Financial processes


The government has announced £250,000 of ‘small grants funding’ to boost diverse communities across the country.  The ‘Common Good’ programme will give pots of funding to projects that bring together diverse communities and different faiths through a range of activities from cookery classes to teaching computer coding.

Also see item under Health below.

Social finance

Big Society Capital has closed an investment into Social Finance enabling the social investment intermediary to “continue innovating to find better solutions to some of society’s most challenging problems”.   

BWB has published:

BBA Brexit quick briefs

On 14 November 2016, the British Bankers' Association (BBA) published a webpage on the impact of Brexit on banking. The webpage announces the publication of a number of BBA Brexit "quick briefs". These are short papers intended to inform readers about key commercial, regulatory and political considerations relating to Brexit and banking. Topics include remaining in or leaving the single market, passporting, equivalence, and what an orderly exit looks like. Access the webpage here.

Loan Market Association – updated loan documents templates

The Loan Market Association (LMA) has updated its suite of leveraged acquisition finance documents(including the template term sheet, senior facilities agreement, intercreditor agreement, hedging letter and user guide) and published a new security agreement for use on real estate finance transactions. It has also revised its real estate finance facility agreements and term sheets and made more general changes to its broad array of facility agreements.

Social enterprise

An interesting new development at New York University - the first academic centre of its kind dedicated to law and social entrepreneurship.

ESELA (the European Social Enterprise Law Association) has published its latest newsletter.

Social impact

New Philanthropy Capital has published “User voice: Putting people at the heart of impact practice”, a report explaining how charities can best harness the views and needs of their beneficiaries in order to improve their impact.



See under Arts and culture below.

Higher education

See second item under Health below.

The ASA has upheld three complaints about ads placed by the University of Law Ltd, including one which claimed that it was “the UK’s leading law school”.


The government has announced a new £112 million investment in clinical research facilities.  The funding will be given to 23 NHS organisations and will pay for specialist research nurses and technical staff, as well as providing cutting-edge facilities to support clinical research and trials.  

The Department of Health has invited UK universities to apply for funding for research to benefit people’s health in low and middle-income countries.  The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which will award the funds, is particularly keen to see proposals that consider areas currently under-researched. These include non-communicable diseases, mental health, tobacco control, road safety, surgery, and health and applied social or economic research.  The funding is available for successful universities looking to expand their existing global health work, or for new entrants to the field.

The Department of Health has published guidance aimed at people who buy social care services, including local authority and clinical commissioning group commissioners, as well as personal budget holders and people who fund their own care, care service providers and potential investors in the care sector.  

Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green announced last week that jobseekers who are homeless or suffer from a mental health condition will now be able to access hardship payments immediately if they receive a benefit sanction.  

Nesta has published the results of the Realising the Value programme it has worked on with the Health Foundation. The project worked to enable people to take an active role in their own health and care.

The Department of Health has published new guidance on adult social care market shaping.  

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) published its Annual Review of Social Care Complaints 2015-16. The report shows that the LGO has seen a 25% rise in the number of complaints about home care for vulnerable adults in England.    

Faith based organisations

See under Funding above.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has awarded more than £700,000 funding to schemes to tackle hate crime in communities and protect places of worship.

Housing and homelessness

See fourth item under Health above.

International development

See second item under Health above.

Arts and culture

The government has announced more than £300 million to “help young people from every background enjoy the benefits of music and the arts". The money will be used  to fund a network of 121 music education hubs to work with schools, local authorities and community organisations to get more young people taking part in music and arts.  In addition:

  • The Music and Dance scheme, which provides grants to talented young artists who could not otherwise afford to attend world-class institutions like the Royal Ballet School, will receive an additional £29 million a year until 2018. 
  • A further 6 cultural education programmes which cover heritage, dance, art and design, film and museums will share a further £4.1 million a year until 2018. This includes Heritage Schools, a programme run by Historic England, which aims to ensure school children develop an understanding of their local heritage. The scheme will expand into Blackpool next year, another of the opportunity areas.

Alongside this, further funding for a series of other arts and cultural education programmes has been announced, including:

  • £500,000 a year until 2018 to In Harmony, an orchestral training programme for pupils in extremely disadvantaged areas, intended to develop positive character traits 
  • £600,000 for other small music programmes across the country for each year until 2020 
  • £13.5 million a year until 2018 for the Dance and Drama Awards scheme. This scheme offers income-assessed support for tuition fees and living costs for students aged 16 to 23 at a number of high quality private dance and drama schools

Data protection

A London council has been warned to toughen up the way it protects personal information after a social worker left court documents on the roof of her car and drove off.  The London Borough of Ealing has signed up to a series of measures drawn up with the Information Commissioner’s Office to improve its data protection practices following the incident.  Personal data, some of it sensitive, relating to 27 people and including 14 children was lost when the social worker accidentally left them on top of her car in February this year. The documents have never been recovered.


See third item under Health above.

Recent public law and regulatory cases

See here for BWB's round-up of recent public and regulatory cases.


OSCR has issued a reminder for Scottish charities to file their accounts and Annual Returns on time.

Northern Ireland

CCNI has issued a statement about the merits of trusteeship to mark trustees’ week.

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Christine Rigby

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Posted on 22/11/2016 in Legal Updates

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