UNDER QUALIFIED - Nobody on the board has any experience of running a very large charity, despite the Charities Act stipulating that the board should include people with “knowledge and experience” of “the operation and regulation of charities of different sizes and descriptions”.



The 'Cleaner Ocean Foundation' (COF) is a not-for-profit company (a charity) without share capital that is dedicated to ocean conservation and general environmental advocacy or informational campaigns as to renewable energy. COF is also keen to promote the ocean economy to provide jobs for a circular economy in a changing world. Our objectives reach out to conservation in the round, to include tackling climate change via contributions from Seavax and other vessel concepts, where these vessels are solar and wind powered, hence carbon neutral.


The objectives of the charity include education of the public for their own benefit and that of their habitats and limited political campaigning that is designed only to help the Foundation achieve its objectives. The Charity has no political agenda and supports no political party or views.


According to a decision letter dated February 4 2019, that was forthcoming only after a deadline was set by us to respond, or face a formal complaint as to the protracted delays. Our application was filed on 30/08/2018, meaning that it had been in the Commission's offices for 150 days, where most applications are decided in 14 days. That seemed to us to be wholly inappropriate given the urgency of our research and a possible maladministration, or abuse of a position of trust, where a special duty exists in respect of social issues such as plastic pollution.


The Commission did not seem to care about the urgency or the special duty of care, but embarked on what looks to us to be a fishing exercise on behalf of other agencies, the pattern of which is hard to ignore.


The result of our application is that a Legal Estoppel has been created that our Foundation may rely on, in that according to their decision our charity is not required to register with the Charity Commission.


The Commission stressed that in coming to their decision, they (rather oddly) were not making any judgement on the merits or otherwise of what our organisation is doing - because that is of course what they were required to do. They claim that their role is simply to make a decision on whether, on the basis of the information available to them, an organisation should be registered as a charity. As you read about our climate change and ocean conservation work, we wonder if you would say that the Commission are an effective administration?


It seems odd to us that an organisation can be a charity, as in having adopted charitable objects, operate not for profit and followed the published guidelines of the Charity Commission, and not be subject to the requirement to register their charity!


Based on the perceived level of inconsistencies, we are not surprised that many others are saying that the Commission is not fit for purpose. This is one organization that might want to revise its practice to align with its purpose as per our suggestions for a circular economy.



The Charity Commission's website


WEBSITE - You will find a lot of information about setting up and running your charity on their official Government website.





The Charity Commission is the regulator of charities in England and Wales and maintains the charity register for this geographical region. They are an independent, non-ministerial government department accountable to Parliament, but apparently not to the electorate.


As the registrar of charities they are responsible for maintaining an accurate and up-to-date register of charities. This includes deciding whether organisations meet their version of what a charity is, and so should be registered. They also remove charities that are no longer considered to be charitable under their rules, or that no longer exist or no longer operate.


The Charity Commission works across 4 sites in Liverpool, London, Newport and Taunton. Their Newport office operates bilingually in Welsh and English. The Commission employ approximately 350 people.


The Commission is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.

The Charity Commission answers directly to the UK Parliament rather than to Government ministers. It is governed by a board, which is assisted by the Chief Executive (currently Helen Stephenson CBE who succeeded Paula Sussex in July 2017) and an executive team. The current Chair is William Shawcross. The previous Chair was Dame Suzi Leather, DBE, who was appointed Chair of the Commission's board on 1 August 2006.




FIDDLING WHILE ROME BURNS - The Commission are not in tune with world events such as the climate crisis. It is likely they have denied assistance to causes that may have had made more of an impact on politicians via lobbying as to climate change - had they been registered. Look where that has gotten us.





Apparently not. The Cleaner Ocean Foundation considered it necessary to apply for registration, to determine if registration was legally required.


In their own words: "Many organisations are set up to do things which benefit the community. Not all of these organisations will be capable of being charities. This is because not everything that benefits the community is charitable."


The decision that our trustees faced in deciding whether or not to proceed to test registration is if it wanted the extra expense of dual accounting and audit that the present charity system imposes, though an organisation can always de-register if circumstances demand. It appeared to the Foundation that the published agenda was exclusively charitable and for the benefit of mankind. The Charity Commission did not agree..


Should funding become available for SeaVax it seemed to the Foundation that registration would have to follow. But the Foundation's income was only just above the threshold where registration would have been required at the time of making application. As you may imagine, the leap to (not for profit) capitalization for such a large project as SeaVax, was and is daunting. With registration looking as though it may be a requirement, it was even more challenging, where donations and commercial associations could and can be accepted regardless of registration.


"For an application to the charity register to take place, an organisation must be established for exclusively charitable purposes for public benefit. Everything it is doing must further a charitable purpose - if only some of what it is doing furthers a charitable purpose, but not everything, then it will not be capable of being a [registered] charity". Apparently, and according to the Commission, this is because not everything that benefits the community is charitable.


Well, if that makes sense to you, you are better informed than us. Where we come from anything that benefits a community and is not-for-profit, is charitable. This is according to most dictionaries, but not according to charity bean counters. In our view a potential discrimination issue for any Human Rights activists looking for legal anomalies.


According to the Charity Commission an applicant needs to: ".. be able to demonstrate a clear connection between what they are doing and the furtherance of a charitable purpose for public benefit."


The Foundation has published its purpose and in its view clearly laid out why the research into low carbon transport and ocean pollution solutions is of benefit to the public by way of conservation. That this research and other associated research is published and available to all via search engines is self evident.


Regardless of any test of registration, our objective is to channel monies (donated) raised directly to ocean cleaning and environmental research, conservation and educational advancement activities no matter that the Commission's rules may not recognise (or indeed, fully comprehend) our methods in a modern world. rather than spend money on administration and fund raising professionals, or at least to keep overheads to a minimum such that contributors will be confident that their donations or grants will be used for the published objectives.


During the registration process we received a number of questions from the Commission, where on the application form it seems that we could (or did) not provide sufficient information space being limited. A second tranche of questions followed our initial response, some of which was repetitive and others seemingly joining dots that did not exist, by way of potential complications. Where we are a charity regardless of registration, it seems to us that much of the requested information was designed to put us to considerable cost, being rather off-putting and a drain on our limited resources. That said it was a learning experience that may well shape how the Foundation develops in years to come. Or, the extra efforts may force the Foundation to wind down and hope that other think tanks will take up the torch.


It became obvious early on that the Commission was working with and for other agencies, using their new powers to explore non-existent connections - and what appears to us - to use the non-existent, or previous associations as a reason to refuse registration. This is so despite the obvious charitable works that we do, and something for politicians and policy makers to think on where such an approach may work negatively for society and those in society who start out wanting to make a difference.


The Commission homed in on Bluebird Marine Systems and our takeover of the SeaVax project where that company had concluded a period of agreed research and objectives that exhausted them both financially and mentally.


The Commission suggested that the Foundation might be liable for any losses or liabilities of that company, despite the fact that Bluebird Marine had also traded not-for-profit and come out of that period to dormancy without any losses or liabilities. Regardless of that, one company cannot be held to be liable for the trading or non-trading of another - unless by special agreement. In taking over the SeaVax project and requiring use of the water test tank that they constructed, the Foundation agreed to assume forward liability in this regard, so relieving Bluebird of forward liabilities. In other words, the Commission were basing their decision in part on nothing at all. Bluebird Marine had ceased trading. Though due to their decision on as to non-registration we are considering passing back at least some of the SeaVax and zero carbon marine transport projects, such that vital funding might be secured other ways.




INCONSISTENCY - Within their own parameters, the Commission agree one charity might be registrable as educating the public, but not another. The above application in 2004 was accepted, but a similar application for internet education in respect of ocean conservation and climate change was unacceptable. The above application to register a charitable enterprise in respect of horse rescue and care, and education using a website was approved, but argued negatively in respect of education on marine conservation issues.





According to the Commission, a charity cannot be registered if it advanced education and campaigns for a cleaner environment at the same time. The Commission say that such endeavour affects neutrality, not being consistent with either objective, suggesting that if (apparently) the objectives had been by separate charitable entities they would have been registrable. Hence, by advocating ocean cleaning using SeaVax or SeaVax like machines, the Foundation may be seen (in the words of the Commission) as not being neutral.


Likewise, the Commission are of the opinion that promoting a Blue or Circular Economy is not charitable, where they say this is a specific means to an end, rather than simple protection of the environment. Again, it appears that where one specific charitable object is linked to another, or cross-linked, the Commission say that is indistinguishable from promotion of a specific point of view, regardless of the fact that the Foundation gives no specifics as to how to achieve these objectives, merely agreeing that they are desirable targets if they can be achieved and citing examples of how they may be achieved with reference to other organizations looking to achieve Blue Growth and other countries hoping to achieve sustainable economies.


The Commission has though created a Legal Estoppel in saying that multiple charitable objects may not be linked in this way. Other concerns might take note that they do not have to waste time attempting to register with the Commission if they adopt a similar approach to the Foundation.





Now that has been cleared up, our remaining concern is that the Charity Commissioners took so long to give us this information, given that their reply after 150 days of waiting was mostly a standard negative response with cut and paste sections that they thought could be applied to the Foundation.


The Commission should consider that they are paid civil servants, whereas our Trustees and volunteers receive no reward for their efforts, other than legitimate and very limited out of pocket expenses. In such circumstances where those who are unpaid are prepared to expend considerable effort hoping to change the world for the better, you might imagine a high degree of encouragement, rather than the put off that appears to be the norm from this experience, during which unnecessarily prolonged period the Commission effectively kept our Foundation in limbo. When, it was clear that they had decided rejection of our application in the first 14 days - as we say - mainly based on dots that they were joining that did not exist.




There are problems facing our world where governments are looking for solutions, but where funding is either not available or where the application process for limited funding and the associated legal constraints are so demanding as to put off any would be champions.


Generally, social technology champions are not bean counters. They are practical engineers who are willing to try and solve social issues to help their fellow man, where the bean counters of this world do not have the skills base or imagination that is required to come up with potential solutions, let alone the grunt to see development through to technology readiness level 1 to 9 or even 10; getting the end product into production.


Policy bean counters should then consider that there are only so many champions at any given point. Governments have missed many opportunities by either refusing grant applications for those with solutions that they did not recognise as problems early enough, or where funding rules are so horrendous that those with practical, rather than administrative skills would not in any event apply.


An example of a solution that was missed by the Dti in 1995 was an application by a practical man to develop the infrastructure for electric vehicles, that is now a high priority, because funding was refused in 1995. Had financial encouragement been forthcoming in 1995, we would most likely have EV service stations ready to go as needed. What actually happened is that the champion concerned carried on looking for financial assistance for as long as he could afford to carry the concept and then took another career path to survive. Doubtless, there will be other champions, but we are unlikely to meet the deadlines for the Climate Change Act as a result of the Dti's short sightedness in 1995.


In a world where we become financial slaves as soon as we enter university, funding is the all important incentive to nurture the solutions that our progeny will need to create a sustainable society.




WILDLIFE SUFFERING - The Commission are not in tune with world events such as the number of marine mammals that get caught in discarded fishing nets. Their apathy will be the cause of thousands of deaths in coming years.





Where we were not entirely averse to modifying our objects, we are now keen to stay as we are and have been operating for over 20 years without challenge, save that in the past we did not tackle such sizeable projects as SeaVax. The model document that our charity is based on was supplied to us by the Commission. Having considered the line of questioning and many of the legal cases, it seems that the Commission seek to change the objectives of many applicants, to bend to their will. In our view such attempts to force us to change our agenda would not allow us the freedoms to conduct experimental research the way that we believe is risk free for our volunteers and for the Foundation in terms of undue administrative burdens. If the British Government want such research conducted in a different way, they can always form such charities themselves? In a perfect world they might, but we live is a society that is imperfect.


You can see the questions and our answers below and come to your own conclusions. Please do not email us with questions as to your own charity or registration applications.



Charity Commission, Drummond Gate, London, SW1, United Kingdom




Most of the questions that were asked during the application stage are covered in our Operational Protocols and is self-evident in our publications, though we accept that it may not be possible for scrutineers to examine all such publications. This general Guidance and Reference is provided to every Trustee for use and in furtherance of the Objects in accordance with the Charities Act 2011 (see below). Essentially, the Foundation is of the view that its research and educational activities qualified for registration where:


* The subject matter of the proposed research is a useful subject of study


* It is intended that knowledge acquired as a result will be disseminated to others.


* The research is conducted for the benefit of the public or a section of the public in the saving of lives, reduction of global warming and conservation of marine species. Conservation also includes saving a historic asset for the benefit of the public and appreciation of future generations.


In answer to the questions posed, and we assume that many potential contributors will want the same assurances, our Foundation is concerned as to the unhealthy state of the oceans as it affects the health, hence the lives of marine animals and humans who derive food for life from the sea. We are active in the field of scientific research that is aimed at alleviating the present pollution problems in a way that is environmentally friendly, also promoting clean, or zero carbon transport as may benefit ocean acidification levels and reduction at some point in the future should any solar and wind powered platform derived from our experiments increase present average speeds over that set by Planet Solar in 2012, or our other zero carbon transport concepts might add to current knowledge in the quest to slow climate change as per the Climate Change Act 2008.

We take a global view on how to achieve this:


1/  We are engaging with those governments and organisations that have identified these problems to provide them with information of what may be possible given the appropriate support, on a not for profit basis.


2/  We keep up with current technology as it may be applicable to the development of machines to clean the oceans from news feeds and review such information for onward transmission. This watching brief includes monitoring land based trends with the potential to reduce global warming as it affects acid oceans.


3/  We attend events such as Oceanology International (London), the Ocean Symposium (Hastings) and give presentations about plastic waste and the Seavax concept.


4/  We attend the European Maritime Days.


5/  We operate a number of websites designed to promote plastic awareness and publish progress on Seavax. 


6/  We are developing an ocean awareness game based on a Seavax vessel fishing for plastic waste.


7/  We design ocean cleaning machinery and support vehicles on the premises.


8/  We build prototypes on the premises and arrange for external facilities as they are needed.


9/  We test vessel models and filtration machinery in our test tanks on the premises.


10/ We aim to produce half and full size Seavax prototypes as part of an ongoing programme.


11/ We scout potential collaborative research partners for technology that is needed for Seavax.


12/ We test low carbon vessel models aiming for more efficient hulls for solar and wind power.


13/ We contribute to the upkeep of a historic building that would otherwise have no beneficial use.


The above furthers our charitable ocean cleaning objectives for a water cleaning system that is capable of reversing the pollution trend by removing plastic waste with a comprehensive low carbon, Seavax like, system:


1)  That is coming to fruition as part of a planned programme that is entirely driven by funding levels.


2)  Where online information dissemination is letting governments know what may be possible in the future, planting the seeds for future food security.


3) Where networking at events and B2B meetings gives interested parties the opportunity to gain further insight into our ocean research activities.


4) Where we are implementing a long term plan to show what may be possible given international cooperation.


5) Where we foster and log Seavax enquiries for the eventual issue of free licenses.


6) Where we hope that this combination of efforts will eventually contribute to making the oceans healthier for marine life and for humans who eat seafood that is at present contaminated by marine waste.

What the benefits are ?


At this point in time it is difficult to say what the benefits of Seavax might be save for estimates. Whereas the Foundation's ocean awareness campaigns and international interactions are sure to make the public think more about how they dispose of plastic that may end up in the ocean. Equally, where the charity attends a number of ocean events, those persons viewing attendance lists may request one-to-one audience with our representatives to learn more.


Seavax is likely to have a significant effect on ocean cleanliness if the charity is successful in persuading world organisations and companies to invest in cleaning their geographical region (under free licenses) working in cooperation with other like minded organisations that we identify. The aim of such negotiations is to unite the world in a mass clean up operation that can only succeed with persistent and targeted communications and global coordination. This is so due to the fact that ocean currents know no geographical boundaries. It is thus pointless cleaning one ocean on its own where a neighbouring ocean will soon re-contaminate any patch that is cleaned in isolation.

Who the beneficiaries are ?


The beneficiaries are:


1.  The 3 billion people around the world who rely on fish and seafood products for their protein intake.


2.  Marine life as a whole; fish, shellfish, seabirds and marine mammals.


3.  Aquaculturists who rely on fish based feed for their farms and where applicable; healthy seas.


4.  Fishermen who need the demand for their catches and retailers on land that depend on fish products for their businesses.

How the beneficiaries become aware of the services ?


The internet is a wonderful tool for information dissemination and it is working for the Foundation in attracting potential end users, where they simply need to enter the appropriate key words to learn about the Seavax and Rivervax water filtration machines and project progress. Apart from that, the Android and iOS smart device games are sure to become reasonably popular with suitable promotions, and that in turn takes the next generation to the Seavax project on the charity's websites where they can learn about how the Foundation hopes to be able to persuade organisations around the world to get cleaning.

Who is providing the services, and how the trustees have satisfied themselves the persons providing them are appropriately qualified ?


The Foundation provides most of the design and development of the Seavax and Games. The Foundation provides the communications to world leaders and organisations. Staff engaged on these elements of the ocean cleaning drive will typically hold an appropriate degree or other qualification, City and Guilds or other skill proof, or will provide samples of their work and undergo a trial period involving close quality inspection.


a) Who carries out the research and the development projects ?


Apart from the Foundation developing Seavax, low level robotics and filtration modules and associated awareness services, collaboration with academic institutions, specialist product suppliers and subcontractors is envisaged, due to the high technology amalgamation, such as satellite ocean searches and fleet navigation coordination that is not within the scope of staff and is better adapted from outsourced hard and software. Although we have many contacts who might provide these services and who have expressed a willingness to work together, the Foundation is not yet in a position to name contributors. Such information is available to potential contributors subject to completion of a non-disclosure agreement.


b) How do the trustees decide who carries out the research and development ?


The Trustees decide who might be appropriate development partners or subcontractors based on their level and areas of expertise. On occasion the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) branch of the Dti can help by suggesting suitable partners. If the research is within in-house scope, the charity carries out that package of work. When the level of expertise exceeds in-house capabilities, then at that point the charity chooses partners who have similar objectives, are competitive in financial terms and have the ability to deliver their products or services in an agreed timescale.


c) How does the organisation ensure that it does not support non-charitable research, commercial research and exploitation for commercial purposes ?


The Foundation has a set of rules that every Trustee is required to read and every other officer of the charity must endorse, refer to when unclear as to any gray areas, and comply with when looking at charity compliance issues.


d) Who owns the intellectual property rights to the SeaVax and other research. How will the trustees ensure there are no personal benefits regarding intellectual property rights attached to the research ?


Some research and conceptual machines that have been produced to date do not belong to the Foundation. The charity has though secured virtually indefinite use of such on a free basis. Forward research generated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) that are paid for by the Foundation, will be vested in the Foundation. Proprietary IPR, such as Apple and Microsoft hard and software and other third party algorithms and hard and software will not belong to the Foundation, but will be used in the course of operations to achieve our aims. As such there is no personal benefit from use of the or any intellectual property, be it proprietary or developed by the Foundation.


At time of writing, the charity has an arrangement with Bluebird Marine Systems, who in turn have a system where free licenses may be issued at the appropriate time upon receipt of such a request, providing free licenses to operators around the world who it is hoped will be the end users.


In anticipation of Bluebird Marine Systems winding down, the Foundation will secure, or will have secured whatever IPR is necessary to continue with our climate change and ocean conservation initiatives. BMS ceased trading in 2017. At time of writing the only liability that may have a bearing on BMS winding down, is that they will have to find another concern to use whatever assets they may have as a result of crowd funding, or they might find themselves in a breach of contract situation. To avoid any penalties arising, if the Foundation is for any reason unable to continue with ocean research, then BMS would have to find an alternative charity to undertake this work.


Other contributing companies are independent of the Foundation, meaning that their liability is theirs alone. For example, if a large corporation were to make a donation and then at some time in the future go into administration, that would have no effect or comeback on the Foundation. All contributions are accepted in good faith free of conditions, save where goods in kind may accepted as free issue, typically involving a PR return or other association for the contributor. Even so there would be no liability attaching to the Foundation.


e) How will the trustees ensure that any personal benefit to the researchers/ developers is no more than incidental ?


Please see the Operational Protocols and Aims & Research Declaration below.


f) Where will the useful results of the research be published. How will it be made available to the public ?


Our research will be self-published online, but is also available for publication and dissemination by the media in articles and to other third parties on a free basis. It is likely that the British Library would have copies of such publications lodged. Patents would of course be published by the Intellectual Property Office during the course of such applications and grants.


g) How will conflicts of interest be managed ?


Potential conflicts of interest will be avoided. Where there might be necessary input that generates a potential conflict of interest, that arrangement will be carefully monitored for compliance. Typically, staff are bound by agreements at the outset that deal with such issues upfront. Similar agreements will be secured with outside contractors who have commercial interests to ensure that dissemination of information remains with the Foundation and that this is on a not-for-profit basis.

h) Can the trustees confirm they will operate within the limits of Charity Commission guidance ?


Please see the Operational Protocols and Aims & Research Declaration below. The Foundation believes that it operates in accordance with the Charities Act 2011, some of which is reproduced below for ease of reference. Hence, the charity can confirm the intention to operate within the guidance provided by the Commission and as seen in statute.


3) Please provide information about the educational games that the organisation is developing ?


The Seavax game is based on six ocean areas identified on a map of the world. The presumption is that the player wants to clean plastic from these geographical regions using a Seavax machine. They have to pass various levels to gain sufficient points to clean the world of plastic. In engaging with the game the player learns that cleaner oceans make happier fish.


a) Who has designed the educational games. Are they designed by experts in the educational field and can the trustees provide independent expert evidence on the educational merit of the games ?


The Seavax game is under development by professional game producers. The company concerned has produced many games for other concerns. It is up to the Foundation as to the brief and look of the game that the programmers meld with game objectives such that the player might enjoy cleaning the oceans. The charity is roughly 60% of the way through the development process and is looking forward to testing a beta version in the not too distant future. At this stage it is not possible to seek independent evidence where the product does not yet exist in a playable form. The cost of obtaining such evidence would need to come from generated funds that at present do not exist, though game testers may be able to give opinions on a free basis at the beta stage. 


b) Who will own the intellectual property rights to the games? If this is not the charity, how will the trustees ensure there are no personal benefits regarding intellectual property rights attached to the games ?


The Foundation will own the copyright on the game, operating under a free license to use the Seavax design. This license  may be sub-licensed on a free basis, subject to design copyrights that the charity already has free use of.


c) How does the organisation assess the impact of the games they provide for educational purposes ?


It is far too early to assess the impact of the SeaVax game. This will only come once the game is released. It is planned to release a similar game to raise awareness of pollution in rivers such as the Ganges, but only if the ocean cleaning game is well received and meets with general approval from the academic world.


4) What is the connection between Blue Growth and Cleaner Ocean Foundation Limited. Is the organisation independent ?


The Blue Growth website was an initiative of the Foundation, the website is not independent, it is operated by our charity in connection with our educational objectives. The Foundation does however, work with other similar minded concerns to promote blue growth ideals where cleaner oceans has been identified as the bedrock of restoring the sea state to pre-plastic health levels. Unfortunately, the Foundation cannot find a way to clean the ocean floor that we consider may be economically feasible - at this point in time. We must then concentrate efforts to remove the plastic as it comes into the oceans and promote low carbon vehicles (alternative energy) in the hope of reducing acid oceans and climate change.


5) What is the nature of the relationship between Bluebird-electric and the organisation ?


The website was the flagship site for the SeaVax project before the project was passed to the Cleaner Ocean Foundation. It was a legacy site that generated many visits due to the subject matter and so is of value for information dissemination purposes. The company that was running that site (on a not for profit basis) has ceased trading for the present leaving that website unattended if the Foundation had not agreed to update it on a free basis, whereas several contacts that are considered to be beneficial to the Foundation used those email contacts from the legacy site. The Foundation has thus negotiated to continue to update that site with details of ocean related events and other news that generate emails to the Foundation as to offers to operate Seavax machine when they become available, also continuing to use the established addresses on a free basis in the interests of continuity.


Interested parties should bear in mind that Seavax was conceived before the Foundation took over the project, where it was clear that the original developers would not qualify for funding from any source under current rules. The charity took up the challenge in the hope of more favourable treatment by those that may be approached to generate funds.




The Foundation seeks to contribute to society through the pursuit, dissemination and application of knowledge free of mission drift. This may include innovative collaboration where the Foundation does not have such expertise in house and such skills are necessary to further the objects.


Staff are not offered any incentives other than equitable remuneration for their research while working for the Foundation on Seavax or any other ocean cleaning or zero carbon transport related project, to include low carbon shipping and other energy and conservation projects. IPR developed by the charity remains with the charity for free use and dissemination by/to others.

Our research is directed towards establishing an outcome, in this case the formulation of a system that may harvest plastics from the oceans on an equitable basis, not for the Foundation, but as a gift of knowledge to other nations. This is one of our purposes for public benefit.

Our regeneration ocean research is undertaken with the intention that the useful knowledge acquired from these efforts will be disseminated to the public and others so that they may use and benefit from that knowledge within a reasonable timeframe, typically 3-6 months from the research being conducted and assimilated.

Dissemination may take many forms, such as:

1. attending events and giving talks about our findings.
2. producing free games advocating clean oceans as a good thing
3. offering the knowledge to all nations free of charges
4. publishing the knowledge in indexed form on the internet
5, filing of patents
6. arrangements for the use of the material for further research by the Foundation of other charities.

These activities are considered to be incidental, legitimate and reasonably necessary for the functioning of the Foundation.

Our research is undertaken for the benefit of all those citizens of planet earth who eat fish or other ocean produce, where at the moment such produce is tainted with toxins from plastics. Such endeavour is not for private or commercial consumption, but to bring about a situation where seas are healthier for the benefit of marine life. This is part of our conservation aims.

Our research is undertaken with the aim that if our seas can be rid of toxic plastics that seabirds and marine mammals will not ingest solids that they mistake for food and so alleviate suffering.

Our research may be undertaken with sponsored collaborations provided only that there is no restriction on dissemination, and that there is no ownership of IPR to gain a commercial advantage. Any agreement as to research collaboration will define any sharing of work and responsibilities. Agreements will also deal with allocation of funding and resources, the non-ownership of the knowledge generated and the protection of the research limited to the extent of identifying the research as emanating exclusively from the Foundation or its collaborations, so giving a quality stamp to the work against imitators with commercial intentions.

Our research and dissemination is not to be carried out for any political gain, party or purpose, save those all party ambitions may accord with our own agenda so long as there is no profit motive.

The Foundation may (in effect) carry out contract research for non-charitable bodies to test and/or evaluate a piece of work or proposal by way of an agreed programme under the terms of a written agreement, to use the facilities of the Foundation for ocean research aimed at understanding problems associated with plastics or climate change, provided that the right to disseminate the knowledge gained in a reasonable time is secured and that there is adequate financial recovery for the charity under such arrangements, such as to generate funds for ocean plastic research and other related ocean issues.


The Foundation is to include a robust process whereby the authorisation of contracts by the Trustees to necessary sub contractors, collaborative research partners or commercial trading entities, is examined to eliminate potential conflicts of interest, and to ensure that:

a/ any research undertaken is in an area that furthers the aims of the charity.

b/ any research is for the public benefit, with any private benefit being incidental.

c/ the terms agreed by the charity are reasonable in relation to the circumstances known to the charity at the time.

d/ the charity's interest are/were protected.

e/ there is an adequate record of the decision making process.

f/ there is appropriate supervision and training of the charity's staff who may be involved in authorising contracts.

Should it be prudent to conduct significant research for fund raising purposes through a separate or non-charitable (trading) company, the Foundation will ensure that it has sufficient powers of investment or support for such endeavour, provided only that the charity considers it prudent and in the interest of the charity and such formal (arms-length) arrangement would not undermine or prejudice the ongoing work of the charity.




OPEN LETTER TO WILLIAM SHAWCROSS - Today it requires a truly exceptional individual to run a major charity. She needs to be committed, compassionate, articulate, analytical, financially uber-literate, culturally attuned, managerially adept, both strategic and fleet of foot, and a true leader.

If someone is able to bring together all of these skills, and deploy them to run an organisation dedicated to making the world a better place, and do so pretty much 24/7, and do so for a salary way less than such skills and dedication would command in the commercial sector, I believe you should be applauding them. Instead, you risk ringing tabloid alarm bells.

Let’s set aside for a moment the moral argument (the one that says somehow bankers deserve a bonus (bonus!) of £1,000,000 a year, while someone leading a complex, global, humanitarian cause should think twice about accepting £100k salary (with no bonus). Let’s set that aside.

Let’s look instead at the impact of good causes, or return on investment. Paying someone a £100k to lead an organisation generating tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds of income which is used to save and enhance millions of lives and, in so doing, deliver flagship humanitarian relief that should make us proud to be British, while providing purposeful employment to thousands… well, that £100k strikes me as a bargain.





Charities can close for a number of reasons, such as:

* a merger with another charity
* the original purpose has been met or is no longer relevant, for example treating a disease that has since been eradicated * in the area the charity serves
* losing funds or funding
* a lack of members
* becoming a company or charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), which means creating a separate charity







Some charities are ‘excepted’ from charity registration. This just means they don’t have to register or submit annual returns. Apart from that, the Charity Commission regulates them just like registered charities and can use any of its powers if it needs to.


A charity is excepted if its income is £100,000 or less and it is in one of the following groups:

* churches and chapels belonging to some Christian denominations
* charities that provide premises for some types of schools
* Scout and Guide groups
* charitable service funds of the armed forces
* student unions

In practice, some of these charities’ income is below £5,000, the normal threshold for registration, so they wouldn’t have to register anyway. They are different from exempt charities, which are exempt from registration and regulation by the commission.





We refer our trustees and any reader with an interest in charitable operations to the official government guidance ‘Research by higher education institutions’ which explains when research will, and will not, be charitable, and what are private benefits, and when they are acceptable in furtherance of a main charitable aim. This can be accessed on our website here:

Charity Law Association


CHARITY LAW - If you need independent advice about charity law the Charity Law Association may be able to help.





The Charity Commission for England and Wales

1 Drummond Gate





Charity Commission
PO Box 211
L20 7YX

Charity Law Association
PO Box 828
ME8 1DJ.

Tel: 01634 373253


The Commission’s press office is open from 08:30 to 18:00 Monday to Friday, except national holidays.

Press enquiries - office hours 0300 065 2123

Parliamentary enquiries











UK Fundraising– fund raising resources

Fundraising Regulator– the independent regulator for charity fund raising

Institute of Fundraising– fund raising resources –   charities resources– database and information

Association of charitable foundations – more  charity resources

Philanthropy UK – advice for aspiring philanthropists

Third sector – charities and voluntary sector resources

Charity Choice  – charities resources

Grants on line – grant giving charities

 Easy Fundraising  – allows causes eg. schools, charities, clubs & organisations to earn donations online

Virgin Money Giving – enables donations online and you can fundraise for your good cause

Charity Aid Foundation – enables donations online by individuals and companies


The links below are to the Commission's sister web sites


Businesslegal – company formation services

Businesslegal – legal services for business














Scottish Association For Marine Science, SC009206 - Registered charity from 29 June 1930


Scottish Marine Institute
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA



Charity Status: Active Last Updated: 03 Jan 2019
Constitutional Form: Company (the charity is registered with Companies House)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas - Main Operating Location: Argyll & Bute
Purposes: "The advancement of education","The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science","The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "No specific group, or for the benefit of the community"
Types of activty undertaken: "It carries out activities or services itself"



Seal Protection Action Group, SC017447 (BySPAG)
Registered charity from 17 October 1990

14 Howey Close, Mount Pleasant
Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 0NX


Object: To protect and conserve by effective means the seal population so that the education of the public can be advanced through the study of seals in their natural habitat and their relationship with the Marine Littoral Environment; To promote humane behaviour towards animals, particularly but not exclusively marine animals, which are in need of care and attention by reason of sickness, maltreatment, poor circumstances or ill-usage;

Charity Status: Active Last Updated: 14 Aug 2019
Constitutional Form: Unincorporated association
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas - Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland

Purposes: "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement","The advancement of animal welfare"
Beneficiaries: "Other defined groups"
Types of activty undertaken: "It makes grants, donations or gifts to organisations","It carries out activities or services itself"



Living Water Charitable Trust, SC018714

Carlingnose Studios
North Queensferry
Fife, KY11 1ER


Object: The purposes of the Trust shall be:- 1. To protect, upgrade and restore land and water systems in areas either threatened by, or having suffered from, pollution; 2. To promote and advance education and training opportunities to enable individuals to acquire the necessary skills to protect, upgrade and restore their natural environment; 3.To relieve poverty, famine and hunger by the provision of direct help, specialist skills and tools which may be required for the guidance, encouragement and training of local populations to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency; 4. To protect the genetic diversity of natural eco systems and the regeneration of natural forests throughout the world; 5. To promote and advance education and training in all aspects both for the prevention of pollution and the restoration and upgrading of land and water systems which are either threatened by, or have suffered from, pollution and its application by encouraging financing (or assisting with the financing thereof) undertaken by individuals, firms and bodies corporate or any other group or organisation within and without Scotland and by doing all such other things as will assist allowing the above purposes.

Charity Status: Active - Last Updated: 14 Aug 2019
Constitutional Form: Trust (founding document is a deed of trust) (other than educational endowment)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas, Main Operating Location: Fife

Purposes: "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "Children / young people","Older people","People with disabilities or health problems","People of a particular ethnic or racial origin","Other defined groups","No specific group, or for the benefit of the community","Other charities / voluntary bodies"
Types of activty undertaken: "It carries out activities or services itself"



Marine Conservation Society, SC037480

Overross House
Ross Park


Regulatory Type Cross-Border

Object: To undertake for public benefit the study, conservation and research into the marine and freshwater environment, including associated land and shoreline, and to public and disseminate the useful results of such research.

Charity Status: Active - Last Updated: 03 Jan 2019
Constitutional Form: Company (the charity is registered with Companies House)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas
Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland
Purposes: "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "No specific group, or for the benefit of the community"
Types of activty undertaken: "It carries out activities or services itself"



Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, SC037903 - Registered charity from 06 March 2007

500 Pavilion Drive
Northampton Business Park
Northampton, NN47YJ

Regulatory Type Cross-Border

Object: The Objects shall be to advance for the public benefit the art and science of wastes management worldwide and so to promote education, the protection of public health and the preservation of the environment, and for that purpose to M e r and maintain good standards of practice, competence and conduct by all its Members.

Charity Status: Active - Last Updated: 04 Jun 2019
Constitutional Form: Statutory corporation (Royal Charter etc)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas
Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland
Purposes: "The advancement of education", "The advancement of health", "The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science", "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "Other defined groups", "No specific group, or for the benefit of the community"
Types of activty undertaken: "It carries out activities or services itself"



The Chartered Institution Of Water & Environmental Management, SC038212 - Registered charity from 08 May 2007

106-109 Saffron Hill, London, EC1N 8QS



Regulatory Type Cross-Border

Object: The objects of the lnstitution shall be: (a) To advance the science and practice of water and environmental management for the public benefit. To promote education, training, study and research in the said science and practice for the public benefit and to publish the useful results of such research. To establish and maintain for the public benefit appropriate standards of competence and conduct on the part of members of the Institution.

Details of the charity's operations
Charity Status: Active
Last Updated: 10 Sep 2018
Constitutional Form: Statutory corporation (Royal Charter etc)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas
Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland
Purposes: "The advancement of education","The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "No specific group, or for the benefit of the community"
Types of activty undertaken: "It carries out activities or services itself"



The Seabird Group, SC038820 - Registered charity from 17 October 2007

18 Duncraig Street
Highlands, IV3 5DQ

(Trustee - Mr I Cleasby)

Regulatory Type Cross-Border

Object: 1. Terms of reference. The Seabird Group is a body devoted to the promotion of study and conservation of seabirds. The Group aims to (1) increase the amount and quality of research on seabirds, particularly in Europe and its waters, (2) educate Group members and others of the importance of seabirds and their environment, and (3) advocate the conservation of seabirds.

Charity Status: Active - Last Updated: 13 Dec 2018
Constitutional Form: Unincorporated association
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas
Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland
Purposes: "The advancement of education", "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "Other defined groups"
Types of activity undertaken: "It makes grants, donations, loans, gifts or pensions to individuals","It carries out activities or services itself"



WWF-UK, SC039593 - Registered charity from 22 May 2008

The Living Planet Centre, Rufford House,
Brewery Road, Woking
Surrey, GU21 4LL


Object: The Charity's objects ("the Objects") are 3.1 the promotion of conservation of the natural environment and the sustainable use of natural resources and ecological processes, to include without limitation, fauna and flora, water, soils and other natural resources; and 3.2 the promotion of education in nature conservation, the natural environment and the sustainable use of natural resources; and 3.3 the promotion and support of scientific and educational studies, research and projects and publication of scientific and educational works.

Charity Status: Active - Last Updated: 11 Dec 2018
Constitutional Form: Company (the charity is registered with Companies House)
Geographical Spread: UK and overseas
Main Operating Location: Outwith Scotland
Purposes: "The advancement of education", "The advancement of environmental protection or improvement"
Beneficiaries: "No specific group, or for the benefit of the community"
Types of activty undertaken: "It makes grants, donations or gifts to organisations", "It carries out activities or services itself"






 This website is provided on a free basis as a public information service. copyright © Cleaner Oceans Foundation Ltd (COFL) (Company No: 4674774) 2019. Solar Studios, BN271RF, United Kingdom. COFL is a charity without share capital.