Share

Benevolent funds tribunal case is 'ill-judged and misguided' says umbrella body

Dominic Fox, chief executive, Association of Charitable Organisations
News

Benevolent funds tribunal case is 'ill-judged and misguided' says umbrella body2

Governance | Tania Mason | 15 Nov 2011

The Association of Charitable Organisations (ACO) has criticised the Charity Commission for forcing its members to waste time and money on the Charity Tribunal case being heard in London this week.

Shortly after the case began this morning ACO chief executive Dominic Fox (pictured) told civilsociety.co.uk that the Commission’s decision to bring the case now, in such a time of austerity, was “ill-judged and misguided”.

“A lot of time and money has been spent confirming the status quo,” he said, “time and money that ACO members could have better used helping people in need.

“We hope this will be the last unnecessary public benefit case put before the Charity Tribunal.

“It is time the Charity Commission began focusing its resources on regulating malpractice, not alienating its supporters in the charity sector.”

Twenty ACO members are represented in the case.

Fox added that the Attorney General agrees with his members on all questions that arise out of the reference made to the Tribunal, which demonstrates how unnecessary the case is.

Background


The Commission asked the Attorney General to make the reference in order to clarify the law regarding public benefit for benevolent funds that exist to help certain groups of people, such as members of a family or former employees of a company.

The proceedings are not adversarial and the Charity Commission is not advocating a particular view of the law. It simply wishes to clarify the effects of the Charities Act 2006.

The case began before Mr Justice Warren and Judge Alison McKenna this morning with no less than eight barristers representing various ACO members and the Attorney General.

Commission response

Invited to respond to the ACO's criticism, a Charity Commission spokeswoman pointed out that it was actually the Attorney General who had made the reference to the Tribunal, albeit at the request of the regulator.  She also said it was not a foregone conclusion that the Tribunal's judgment would confirm the status quo, adding "that's why we want it clarified".

Andrew Studd
Russell-Cooke
17 Nov 2011

I must just make it clear, in case it is misunderstood, that ACO members and the AG did not have eight barristers between them. ACO did have a barrister representing it and a group of members as interveners. The same barrister represented three ACO members who were parties to the proceedings. The other barristers, and I agree there were many, were representing other parties to the proceedings who had different perspectives.

ACO worked hard to identify any of its members at threat if the decision were to go against them. The consequences could still be severe (though we are hopeful that the Tribunal will confirm that the law was not changed by the 2006 Act). A group of those ACO members came together to put their case and to share the costs of responding to the reference for the benefit of the wider benevolence sector. ACO should be congratulated for co-ordinating such a response.

Nick Brooks
Head of not for profit
Kingston Smith
15 Nov 2011

As Chair of the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association and one of the bigger benevolent charities we thought it was our duty to defend our position and that of other similar charities and that it is why CABA is one of the eight parties adjoined to this Reference. It is costly and was, in my opinion, unnecessary, certainly at this time. Part of the issue was that the Reference was so obliquely worded it was impossible to see which benevolent charities might be in more danger than others, hence everyone piled in!

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Wellcome Trust's investment portfolio reaches £18bn

19 Dec 2014

The Wellcome Trust has posted a 15.4 per cent return on its investment portfolio, earning £2.5bn for...

HMRC tax statistics suggest large rise in charitable giving

19 Dec 2014

Tax relief on giving is expected to rise by 11 per cent in the year to March 2015, suggesting a large...

Andrew O’Brien moves from NCVO to head CFG’s policy team

19 Dec 2014

Andrew O’Brien is to join the Charity Finance Group as head of policy and public affairs.

Camelot CEO says deregulation of society lotteries may not increase good cause money

18 Dec 2014

The chief executive of Camelot has said that reducing the regulation around society lotteries may not...

Ukip supporters trust charities less than other voters do, NPC study finds

18 Dec 2014

A survey by Ipsos Mori for NPC about how charities are perceived by people who vote for various political...

Tobin Aldrich leaves Sightsavers to set up consultancy

17 Dec 2014

Former director of global fundraising for Sightsavers, Tobin Aldrich, has announced that he has left the...

CRUK crowdfunding effort flops

15 Dec 2014

Cancer Research UK’s three new crowdfunding campaigns did not manage to raise even 10 per cent of the...

Volunteering platform Do-it relaunches

12 Dec 2014

Online volunteering platform Do-it has been relaunched today by its new owner, the Do-it Trust, with more...

‘The challenge is getting people to use IT systems’

28 Nov 2014

Whatever type of customer-relationship management system charities use, the biggest challenge is convincing...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<