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Charity Commission to receive new powers

Charity Commission chairman believes new legislation will be 'vital' to stop charities being abused

27 May 2015

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The Charity Commission is set to receive a variety of new powers including the ability to indefinitely prevent individuals from assuming a senior role at a charity, if they are deemed unsuitable due to prior misconduct.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill was announced in the Queens Speech and will also empower charities to make social investments.

The Bill is an updated version of the Protection of Charities Bill, which was announced in the Queen's speech last year. Following consultation, the Bill was released in draft form towards the end of 2014.

William Shawcross, chairman of the Charity Commission, commented: 'I am very pleased that the Charities Bill has been included in the Queen's Speech. This is a vital piece of legislation if we are to have the powers that we need to stop individuals abusing charities.'

It has already been through consultation and scrutiny by a joint parliamentary committee and will be published in full upon its first reading. A date is yet to be set for the first reading.

The Bill will enable the Commission to direct a charity to be wound-up following an investigation, where doing so would be more suitable than attempting to reform and improve it.

The Bill also includes a pre-emptive power to stop a charity breaching the law. This could be used to stop a charity from disclosing personal data about its beneficiaries, for example.

Shawcross added: 'We must be able to take action where abuse occurs. The public, who give so generously of their time and money, would expect nothing less. This Bill is also good news for charities wanting to make social investments. I recommend this Bill to parliamentarians'.

The Commission is also being given the power to issue formal warnings to charities to ensure they take corrective action.

 

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Charities