Rachel Cain, our Senior Researcher, breaks down the headlines from last week.
Government rejects proposals to reform the Lobbying Act
The most disappointing news for many of us in the sector last week was the announcement that the government will not be implementing proposed changes to the Lobbying Act. In a review last year, Lord Hodgson proposed a number of recommendations, also backed by the House of Lords Committee on Charities, which would have included a major change to the ‘purpose test’ so that rather than any activity ‘reasonably regarded as’ intending to influence voters being regulated, only those ‘clearly intended to’ would qualify.
The government has been under pressure from much of the sector to enact Hodgson’s proposals, due to confusion and ambiguity around the act having a stifling effect on charities campaigning. Many in the sector, as well as Lord Hodgson himself, have expressed anger and disappointment at the announcement. Tracey Crouch, the minister for civil society said that she intends to work with the sector to ‘ensure that rules are well understood’.
Other legislation affecting charities
Legislation to enable a quicker conversion process for charities and community interest companies to become Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) has been put before parliament for approval.
Also last week, legislation to bring the GDPR EU data protection laws into UK law had its first reading in the House of Lords.
The Law Commission also put forward a 350-page report last week, recommending a range of changes, including allowing charities to amend their governing documents more easily, loosening restrictions on permanent endowments and giving further powers to the Charity Commission. The Commission said it will be working with the government on these proposals in the coming months.
10 years and still waiting – Big Lottery Refund
In case you missed it: as West Ham kicked off a new season in the Olympic Stadium, 10 years on from the raid of £425m, we reflected on the importance of a Big Lottery Refund for charities.