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

CAN and Senscot part ways with UnLtd over its vision for a 'private-profit social sector'

18 Sep 2014

Social enterprise support organisations CAN and Senscot have ended their relationship with UnLtd, set...

Governance code 'no longer fit' for large charities, says CFG trustee

17 Sep 2014

The sector’s code of good governance is no longer fit for purpose for large and complex charities and...

Ring-fencing public service contracts for charities is a bad idea, NPC tells Labour

16 Sep 2014

NPC has warned that introducing charity-only contracts is the “wrong approach to take”, in its response...

Over £11m raised for MND Association and Macmillan from ice bucket challenge

19 Sep 2014

The Motor Neurone Disease Association has raised £6.8m from the viral fundraising craze the ice bucket...

DEC raises £102m in its 50th year

19 Sep 2014

The Disasters Emergency Committee and its member agencies raised £102m through two appeals in the last...

London Marathon runners raise £250m in past five years

19 Sep 2014

A quarter of a billion pounds has been raised by London Marathon runners in the past five years, according...

JustGiving page for Manchester Dogs’ Home receives four donations a second

15 Sep 2014

JustGiving has said that donations going to an appeal for the Manchester Dogs’ Home following an arson...

Commission's new online charity search to launch soon after delay

15 Sep 2014

The Charity Commission’s searchable online register of charities is due to launch in beta this autumn,...

Charities warned that digital campaigns can be 'counterproductive'

9 Sep 2014

Charity digital campaigns can be counterproductive and will need to change to keep the attention of those...

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 <<