Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill

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The Bill is now at committee stage in the House of Lords and looks to extend the Charity Commission's powers to protect charities from abuse and make it easier for charities to make social investments.

The Bill was introduced by the Queen's speech in May 2015 and has been welcomed by the Charity Commission. The House of Lords is generally in favour of the provisions, noting the importance of protecting public trust and confidence in charities. It was acknowledged that the Commission needs further powers to be able to prevent abuse within the sector, whilst ensuring that its use of them is proportionate and that heavy regulation does not become counterproductive.

Several amendments to the Bill have been suggested, relating to fundraising (in light of the Olive Cooke case and recent moves towards reform of its regulation); safeguarding, for example the automatic disqualification of trustees placed on the sex offenders' register; and whether charities should be required to take professional advice before undertaking social investment.

The Bill will move to report stage following the completion of committee stage in the House of Lords.