Briefing For Charities & Social Enterprises | 28 February

Published date07 March 2024
Subject Matterorporate/Commercial Law, Charities & Non-Profits
Law FirmBates Wells
AuthorVictoria Schneider

Our weekly round up of news and updates from across the sector

Charity Commission

Five-year strategy

The Charity Commission has published its new five-year strategy, setting out its core purpose and strategic priorities for 2024-2029. In a press release announcing the strategy, the regulator says that the strategy was informed and guided by the challenges brought by the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, and the disruption brought by the pandemic, and the potential opportunities - and corresponding risks - afforded by rapidly changing technology in the period ahead. The Commission's five priorities are:

  • to be fair and proportionate in its work, and clear about its role
  • to support charities to get it right, while taking robust action where it sees wrongdoing and harm
  • to speak with authority and credibility, free from the influence of others
  • to embrace technological innovation and strengthen its use of data
  • to be an expert Commission where its people are empowered and enabled to deliver excellence in regulation

In a speech delivered at an event in London, Commission Chair Orlando Fraser reiterated previous messaging that the regulator must be an expert Charity Commission that is fair, balanced, and independent so that charity can thrive, and that he will not allow the Commission to be misused or weaponised by those fighting 'culture wars'. Commentary on the speech is available in Civil Society.

Return of cultural artefacts

The Guardian reports here that Westminster Abbey has agreed "in principle" to returning a sacred tablet to the Ethiopian Orthodox church.


The Young Trustees Movement is launching its latest initiative - the Model Boardroom Series, an interactive tool which invites you into the boardroom to role play real-life scenarios commonly encountered in the boardroom. Young trustees or potential trustees can sign up to the Model Boardroom Series here.

Joe Saxton, the new Chair of the Association of Chairs, has published Part 2 of his blog on the differences between staff and trustees, in which he looks at the unique features of trustee boards.

Sector General

NCVO has published its latest Road Ahead report, looking at what the next 12 months has in store for charities in six areas: political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal. Some key takeaways are:

  • NCVO are working with ACEVO to develop a voluntary sector manifesto;
  • There is uncertainty for charities with the upcoming general election, which will have wide implications for the sector Charities will be under more scrutiny, particularly when campaigning and advocating on social media;
  • High inflation and interest rates combined with increased pressure on household budgets mean the tough economic climate for charities will most likely continue;
  • Charities should adapt to and make the most of AI and technology.

Election and campaigning

Government has confirmed it is backing the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) Bill, put forward as a private members' bill to extend the measures introduced in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023. The 2023 Act blocked SLAPPs (i.e. a misuse of the litigation process by bringing a claim primarily designed to stifle freedom of expression) on issues around economic crime. This new Bill would block SLAPPs across all types of litigation. The aim of the Bill is to protect investigative journalism and campaigning through measures to strike out SLAPPs and avoid lengthy SLAPP litigation. The proposed measures...

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