The Minister for the Cabinet Office has appointed Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts to undertake the statutory review of the Charities Act 2006, and consider whether further changes to the legal and regulatory framework for charities are desirable. The review has now moved into its consultation phase, with the launch of a number of different opportunities for those inside and outside the charity sector
There is a survey for members of the public and a separate survey for charities – a summary of the questions being asked can be found on One East Midlands website at http://www.oneeastmidlands.org.uk/news.php?readmore=1823 There are also more detailed calls for evidence on 13 topics including: The Charity Commission; Public benefit and the definition of charity; Trustees; Organisational forms; Public charitable collections; Fundraising: self-regulation and transparency; Charities’ accounting and reporting; Charity registration and excepted charities; Complaints, appeals and redress.
The questionnaires and calls for evidence will be open until 16 April. From April, the review will move into a new phase of assessing and analysing the evidence and considering options and recommendations. The aim is for the report of the review to be completed and laid in Parliament before the summer recess in 2012 (expected to be mid-July).
More information and a link to the surveys and call for evidence can be found on the Cabinet Office Website at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/charities-act-review
NCVO has set up a Charity Law Review Advisory Group, with the aim of carrying out its own independent review of charity law and develop proposals for improving the legal framework in which charities operate. See: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/ncvo-charity-law-review-advisory-group
Elizabeth Chamberlain, Policy Officer at NCVO explained on her blog (2/9/11) that “our review will be independent and led primarily by the needs and concerns of our sector. While obviously we aim to make our findings and recommendations available to the relevant Government departments, this is a very different approach to the one that is likely to be taken by whoever is eventually appointed by Nick Hurd. In fact, rumour has it that initially OCS saw the review mostly as a technical ‘tidying up’ exercise, and was eager to manage expectations. We…see this as an important opportunity to review and simplify the laws and regulations that most affect the activities of our members and charities generally.” Elizabeth’s blog which is following the progress of the Charities Act review can be found at http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/networking-discussions/blogs/63
An article explaining some worries about the way the consultation documents are structured and worded (and suggesting alternative ways to submit your views) can be found on the Directory of Social Change website at http://www.dsc.org.uk/PolicyandResearch/News/act