Draft Protection of Charities Bill – the initial reaction

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Charities and their advisers have been scrutinising the evidence submitted on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill that was submitted last month to the Joint Committee in the House of Lords, and was recently published. The Committee also published the written submissions entered by interested parties, including the Charity Commission.

The draft Protection of Charities Bill extends the powers of the Charity Commission "to protect the sector from abuse and maintain high public trust in charities" and includes provisions to:

  • widen the current provisions on automatic disqualification of trustees;
  • give the Charity Commission power to disqualify an individual from trusteeship;
  • give the Charity Commission power to issue official warnings, rather than take formal action, where there is a low risk of serious harm; and
  • give the Charity Commission power to direct trustees to wind up a charity.

The Charity Commission in its written submission welcomes the above provisions, but has called for the Bill to further extend its powers in some areas. In particular it wants to see a provision extending the scope of disqualification beyond trusteeship. It believes that if a trustee is considered unfit to be a trustee, he should be denied the opportunity to take up other posts in the charity where he continues to have influence.

To read the full transcript of the working party's evidence, please click here

To access the supplemental written evidence, including the Charity Commission's submission, please click here.