Rachel Cain, our Senior Researcher, breaks down the headlines from last week.
Annual return consultation
The Charity Commission opened a consultation on Friday into the information collected in the annual return for charities. This is the second part of a consultation on the annual return, this time looking at the information it collects around regulatory issues, aiming to make the return ‘more dynamic’ – i.e. targeting questions to the charities for which they are most relevant. The consultation questions can be found here and the deadline to respond is Friday 24 November.
Fundraising regulator publishes list of charities who haven’t paid (voluntary) levy
The Fundraising Regulator has published the names of 162 charities which have either declined to pay their levy or haven’t responded to their request to do so. The levy aims to cover the operating costs of the regulator and is charged to charities which spend more than £100,000 on fundraising per year. It is voluntary (though you wouldn’t think so from the regulator’s approach towards those who don’t pay…). A number of the charities listed have committed to paying in the regulator’s second year, some are in discussions with the FR, while others have declined to pay for reasons such as a lack of relevance to their organisation, or feeling that it is poor value for money. The regulator said that it was publishing the list ‘in the interests of transparency and fairness’. Perhaps it needs some lessons in effective fundraising…
Charities call for changes to the Lobbying Act
A group of 122 leaders of charities have signed a joint letter to Tracey Crouch, minister for civil society, expressing concerns that the Lobbying Act is stifling civil society. In particular, it highlights concerns that many organisations were reluctant to engage in debate around the general election, out of fear or caution, finding the legislation confusing and vague. It urges her to implement the recommendations of the Hodgson review, which was also backed by the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities earlier this year, and which DSC has also urged the minister to do.
Call for scrutiny of Repeal Bill
A group of charities and other civil society organisations, coordinated by Unlock Democracy, have called on the government to ensure that the Repeal Bill does not side-line devolved nations or result in a power grab. It calls for safeguards to enable strong scrutiny, transparency and debate around the bill, which has its second reading in parliament this week.