Charities & Social Enterprise

Acting for over 10% of Scotland’s 300 largest charities, our Charities & Social Enterprise team has a deep understanding of the specific challenges facing the third sector.

Recognised as legal charity experts by both The Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession and Legal 500, we are known for working with service driven charities on regulatory matters. Our team is skilled in advising on governance matters and we regularly work with our clients on relationships amongst Board members, management and stakeholders.

We remain heavily involved in developing and advising upon evolving structures between the public and third sectors, drawing upon combined team specialisms of public law and procurement, grants, tax, IPR and data-protection in addition to base charity law and charity regulation.

We have seen growth in our involvement in high profile charity regulatory and governance matters, key Board agenda items such as data protection compliance, fundraising regulation and safeguarding and complex charity structuring involving detailed inputs on all aspects of tax law.

Our international charity client base and our social enterprise sphere is also growing, both as legal advisors and as facilitators. In 2018, Duncan Osler and Robin Fallas hosted social enterprise and public body leaders for ground-breaking talks on expanding partnerships and ideas. We have a dedicated focus on social care and service driven organisations, areas in which our team’s practical approach and in-depth sector knowledge is welcomed by clients.

Key areas of work include:

  • Charitable Trusts
  • Charity fundraising regulation
  • Community Renewables / Enterprise
  • Data protection compliance for the third sector
  • Governance
  • International and domestic social enterprises
  • Pensions and employment
  • Regulatory advice for service driven charities and third sector
  • Service/Corporate Charity Structures and collaborations
  • Social media and digital platforms for the third sector

Some of our recent work

  • Greenpeace Nordic
    Advised Greenpeace Nordic on their cross-jurisdiction GDPR compliance project including extensive data protection advice across each of their business functions and provided co-ordinated territory-specific advice where necessary.
  • Leeds Cares
    We advised Leeds Cares throughout 2018 on a range of governance matters relating to the charity’s service provision. GDPR compliance was a key aspect and of particular importance with personal data being essential to the charity’s fundraising purposes and provision of its services.
  • Project Trust
    Provided advice on matters surrounding children and consent, international transfers of information to host-countries, appointment of data protection officers and the review of draft documents prepared by the Trust.
  • CEIS
    We advise CEIS in relation to all its legal requirements. Recent work has included corporate structuring and charity regulation considerations, funding arrangements, including EU funding considerations and GDPR.
  • Scottish Ensemble
    We assisted Scottish Ensemble to ensure that it had appropriate contracts, consent requests and privacy notices in place for the lawful sharing of personal data.
  • ENABLE Scotland
    We provide a wide range of legal services to ENABLE Scotland including specialist employment and compliance & regulatory advice, as well as charity law, property and data protection.
  • "They are timely, very communicative and able to scale up and down their team as required over the course of a project life-cycle."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • "The team's key strengths include 'knowledge of their specialist areas and how to bring in the right departments where needed'."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • "The firm 'inspires confidence in its ability to advise and support'."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • "The practice offers practical and pragmatic advice."

    Legal 500
  • "Scottish Ensemble are hugely grateful to have such a longstanding, trusted relationship with MacRoberts and their support is invaluable to our organisation. Melissa Hall and the Charities team have recently helped us to produce a data sharing agreement for use with our partner box offices and to refine our privacy policy, ensuring we are following best practice in GDPR compliance. MacRoberts have been extremely thorough, efficient, and professional, and their guidance has enabled us to increase our knowledge and confidence in this relatively new area of legislation."

    Chief Executive, Scottish Ensemble
  • “When it came to tackling our cross-jurisdiction GDPR compliance project, we chose MacRoberts because they have experience in dealing with international charities and have data protection experts working specifically in the sector. Led by Val Surgenor, the team has provided extensive data protection advice across each of our business functions, co-ordinated territory-specific advice where necessary and have always been extremely responsive to any requests and queries we have had in relation to GDPR and its application to our charity. The team is always on hand to deal with requests at short notice. Their extensive knowledge and guidance is delivered on time and in plain English and any deadlines/timescales we have are always met.”

  • “MacRoberts’ Charities Team has wide ranging expertise covering governance, fundraising and data protection experts working specifically in the third sector, meaning we receive specialised advice from a team that understands how charities operate. The team at MacRoberts makes complex areas of law easy to understand and apply.”

    Project Trust
  • "The 'personal approach combined with their legal knowledge results in a high level of satisfaction from clients'."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • "Their approach to supporting clients over and above the provision of legal services is fantastic."

    Chambers UK Guide to the Legal Profession
  • “MacRoberts’ Charities team, led by the experienced and pragmatic Val Surgenor, has been assisting us with a number of complex compliance matters, including GDPR and data protection, contractual arrangements relating to fundraising and charity governance queries. We have been delighted with their support, advice and guidance. The team, which has travelled to Leeds to provide training and advice on many occasions, is always on hand, whenever required, to deal with ad hoc requests and reviews under tight timescales.”

    David Welch, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust

Charities & Third Sector

MacRoberts is a leading adviser to charities, the third sector and social enterprise in Scotland and we have a deep understanding of the issues and challenges facing the sector.

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