Draft Protection of Charities Bill published and new funding for charity Commission announced- October 2014January 22, 2015
In late October the Cabinet Office published the Draft Protection of Charities Bill which aims to provide better protection for charities in England and Wales from abuse and equip the Charity Commission of England and Wales with the powers to tackle abuse more effectively. Published along with this was the government’s response to a consultation dealing with amending the Charity Commission’s powers to tackle any mismanagement in charities.
On the same day the Prime Ministers Office declared that the Charity Commission would receive an additional £8 million in funding over three years to help the Commission give priority to its monitoring and enforcement work.
As a consequence of the Consultation responses, a number of proposals have been put forward in the draft Bill which includes provisions that:
• Add to the criteria which immediately disqualify a person from being a charity trustee in England and Wales
• Give the Charity Commission a new power to disqualify a person in particular circumstances from being a charity trustee for up to 15 years, subject to safeguards
• Allow the Charity Commission to proceed with removal where a trustee resigns following service of the notice of removal
• Give the Charity Commission a new power to direct a charity to be wound up following an investigation where that would be more suitable than attempting to keep it going
• Allow the Charity Commission to issue a statutory warning in connection with its common functions of facilitating the better administration of charities or when taking remedial action in connection with misconduct or mismanagement
• Increase the period within which the Charity Commission may suspend a person from charity trusteeship.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Response
On 17 December 2014 the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland gave written evidence to the Joint Committee in Westminster regarding the draft Bill. The Commission endorsed it and encouraged the extension of the provisions to Northern Ireland, with appropriate changes to take account of Northern Irish circumstances.
The Bill has yet to be finalised, and no decision has been made on whether the Bill will eventually extend to Northern Irish charities.
Please note; the content of this article is for information purposes only and further advice should be sought from a professional legal advisor before any action is taken.
Please contact Cleaver Fulton Rankin on 028 9024 3141 or alternatively visit www.cfrlaw.co.uk