Thursday, 5 December 2013

Charity Commission powers to be extended

Charity Commission welcomes consultation on amending and extending its powers

4 December 2013

The Commission welcomes the Cabinet Office consultation, published today, on amending and extending its powers to tackle abuse and mismanagement in charities and says it supports the proposals.

The regulator says it is vital that its existing powers are strengthened. The Commission is required under charity law to identify and tackle mismanagement and abuse in charities but weaknesses in its current powers are undermining its ability to be an effective regulator. For example, the proposals would update the current rules on trustee disqualification and close a loophole that allows trustees involved in misconduct or mismanagement to escape sanction simply by resigning, leaving them able to be a trustee of another charity.

The consultation will give charities and others with an interest in charities - including the general public - an opportunity to reflect and comment on how the Commission's powers should be improved.

The Commission is especially keen to see the law strengthened in the following areas:

  • Trustee disqualification; the Commission needs the power to disqualify individuals from being trustees if they have shown themselves unfit to hold such a crucial role. The criteria that lead to automatic disqualification as a trustee should also be extended, for instance to include convictions for offences such as money laundering and terrorism;
  • Powers to prevent and remedy deliberate abuse; the Commission needs stronger powers to regulate effectively, for instance by extending its powers to make directions and being given the ability to issue official warnings.

Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

"We have long pressed for extensions to our powers to prevent and tackle abuse in charities. We raised this in the discussions which led to the 2006 Charities Act and our response to Lord Hodgson's review of the Charities Act.

So I welcome and support the Cabinet Office consultation. If enacted, these changes would make us a stronger, more robust and more agile regulator. Effective regulation plays an important role in maintaining the public trust and confidence in charities so we believe all charities will benefit if we are better able to tackle and prevent abuse, even though only the small proportion of charities in which abuse occurs will be directly affected by these proposed new powers. This consultation presents an important opportunity to help to shape the future of charity regulation and I encourage charities and those with an interest in and experience of their work to respond to this consultation."

- See more at: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news/charity-commission-welcomes-consultation-on-amending-and-extending-its-powers/#sthash.SgMUxJjZ.dpuf

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