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Bircham Dyson Bell (BDB) LLP and Pitmans LLP merged on 1 December 2018 to become BDB Pitmans LLP. More details can be found here

Charities and Not For Profit

We have vast experience of working both with and within the charities sector, advising both national and international charities, civil society organisations and social enterprises.

Sectors and Services
Charities

Acting for over 450 national and international charities and a wide range of other civil society organisations and social enterprises, we deal with all types of charity-related concerns. We have an open, creative and practical approach; working with our clients to find the best solutions.

We can advise on:

  • Commercial contracts
  • Constitutional and governance issues
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Immigration
  • Information law and data protection
  • Incorporation
  • Public affairs
  • Regulatory issues
  • 1 Arts Charities
    We have a unique understanding of the art and cultural market which places us in the best position to offer a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our clients’ needs.

    We advise private individuals including collectors, philanthropists, artists and authors, as well as their executors and trustees; charities and not-for-profits of all sizes; museums, galleries, and national art institutions; partnerships, corporate entities and online businesses operating in the arts, music industry and entertainment sectors.

    We can advise on:

    • Governance and day to day aspects of running an arts sector organisation
    • Issues arising from the sale and purchase of works of art
    • Issues of provenance, intellectual property, succession and tax planning

  • 2 Education
    The legal and regulatory issues facing educational institutions are wide ranging and changing constantly. We have the experience and expertise to help you navigate and manage these issues with confidence.

    Many in the team are school governors and trustees of educational charities therefore have first-hand experience of seeing issues from both sides.

    We advise the governing bodies and leadership teams of independent schools as well as trustees of educational foundations on all matters ranging from operational issues, to governance and risk management. Drawing on expertise from across the firm, we offer an integrated service to our clients ranging from debt collection and staffing, to mergers and collaborations and exploring opportunities overseas.

    We also have a public affairs team who can work with you in challenging circumstances to engage with stakeholders and manage media communications.

  • 3 Healthcare
    Both private healthcare institutions and NHS representatives are facing the same issues as private sector businesses. Cutting costs, streamlining business processes and increasing operational efficiency are all of high priority.

    We offer pragmatic advice to help you navigate these challenges, drawing on expertise from the firm’s full range of business services. Our clients range from major private hospitals, health insurance providers and product suppliers to NHS trusts, charities and regulators. Working for both the public and private sector as well as not for profit organisations provides us with a balanced outlook and well-rounded view.

    Our experience:

    • Advising on the re-organisation of various NHS charities as charitable companies limited by guarantee outside the constraints of the NHS regulatory framework
    • Advising on the eligibility for charity rate relief of health and fitness centres
    • Procuring Charity Commission approval to the remuneration of the directors / trustees of a healthcare charity

  • 4 Livery Companies
    We have longstanding relationships with many of the City of London Livery Companies, including those within the Great Twelve. Several of our partners are themselves liverymen.

    We provide advice across a wide range of sectors, including:

    • Charities
    • Commercial
    • Employment
    • Education
    • Intellectual property
    • Planning
    • Real estate

    Our experience and expertise in these areas enables us to advise Livery Companies and their associated charities and schools on the full range of issues that they may face on a day to day basis.

    In addition, our longstanding involvement with many Livery Companies means that we understand and appreciate the status of the Companies, their history and heritage and the issues that are likely to be of concern to them.

    Examples of work we have undertaken for Livery Companies clients include advising on:

    • Royal Charters, ordinances and regulations for Companies both ancient and modern
    • Commercial terms in relation to sponsorship of and association with schools
    • Trusteeship of charitable funds, the merger of charities and the amalgamation and rationalisation of funds
    • Corporate and charity property portfolios including day to day property management and the acquisition and disposal of portfolio property
    • The impact of the Equality Act 2010 to charitable objects requiring grants to be made to persons of a certain background and nationality
    • The legality of age limits imposed on holding the office of Master
    • The full range of employment issues, including reviewing, updating and drafting contracts of employment and staff handbooks, advising on disciplinary and dismissal matters, advising on casual worker status and undertaking Employment Tribunal litigation
    • The terms of outsourcing contracts, including in relation to catering and accountancy services

  • 5 Religious Organisations
    We act for a broad range of faith-based organisations on the full range of matters which may affect them.

    As a number of our team are practising members of their own faith, we understand the extent to which the fundamental requirements of a faith may impact on, for example, an organisation’s decision making processes or approach to secular authority.

    We can advise on:

    • The application of the Equalities Act and Human Rights legislation;
    • The need for employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees of faith; and
    • How to ensure compliance with various regulatory requirements which do not sit happily with the requirements of a faith

  • 6 Social Enterprise
    We understand the opportunities and challenges faced by the social enterprise model.

    We work with social impact businesses to enable them to be more strategic in their operations and business planning, from the early stages of formation through to maturity, and also at times when unforeseen circumstances need to be managed.

    We help charities and philanthropists to acquire both positive social outcomes and financial returns. We help social enterprises navigate the legal and regulatory obstacles of this emerging market and satisfy the demands of funders when looking to raise finance in new ways such as social impact bonds.

    As public bodies increasingly move away from grants to using contracts where services are commissioned or purchased, we can help organisations manage the often complex tax implications which may be involved.

    To compete, it is often vitally important for organisations to work together and we have considerable experience in collaborative working ranging from formal mergers, contracting consortia to less formal associations.

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