Share

Closure of NZ Charities Commission is 'against the flow' of regulation worldwide

David Locke, former executive director of charity services, Charity Commission
News

Closure of NZ Charities Commission is 'against the flow' of regulation worldwide1

Governance | Niki May Young | 21 Mar 2012

Former director of charity services at the UK Charity Commission David Locke says the imminent closure of the New Zealand Charities Commission is "against the flow" of charity regulation throughout the world.

Locke is currently living in Australia and working as part of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) implementation taskforce, responsible for seeing in the new regulator in the country. 

"I have been following the decision in New Zealand," he said. "This decision is against the flow of a number of other common jurisdictions that have recognised the need for independent regulation of this important sector.

"Scotland, Northern Ireland and Singapore have all established independent regulators in recent years. In Hong Kong the Law Commission has recommended the establishment of a Charity Commission."

The closure of the independent New Zealand Charities Commission was announced as part of the government's cost-cutting measures on 11 August last year. Its functions are to be transferred to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), whilst a statutory board of three people to oversee independent registration and related functions will be established. The DIA will retain monitoring, investigating and prosecuting functions.

But Locke says the issue of independence is vital in charity regulation:

"In the UK the British government did consider the future of the Charity Commission in 2010 as part of its review of arms length bodies. The government accepted that the Charity Commission of England and Wales carried out necessary functions and there was a need for the exercise of these functions to be independent of politcal interests. The issue of impartiality is in my view an important one.

"In Australia, the government is implementing a wide raft of reforms of the charitable and not-for-profit sectos and is delivering on a number of key recommendations from the Productivity Commission report of 2010.

"The establishment of the ACNC is one of the cornerstones of this important reform agenda. Here the government has recognised the need for the regulator to be an independent body that has its own Commissioner and appropriation and reports to Parliament."

The New Zealand government believes that the transfer of charity regulation functions to the Department of Internal Affairs will save AUS$2.032m in the four years from 1 July 2012 at a transition cost of $300,000.

The transfer is currently going through New Zealand Parliament via the Crown Entities Reform Bill which was introduced to the House on 20 September and is expected to reach report stage at the end of March. Completion of transfer is expected in the middle of the year.

Michael Hardy
27 Mar 2012

The 'against the flow' assertion needs some critical evaluation. Relationships between the government, the not-for-profit sector and the community at large move in cycles, at different paces in different countries.

The developments in New Zealand might more accurately reflect a trend of civil society in each jurisdiction expecting higher value from their not-for-profit regulators.

In England and Wales, the trend towards higher value may be seen in the reductions to the budget of the Charity Commission of England and Wales, under which it will presumably focus on delivering the best value to the community within its reduced resources. In Australia, the formation of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) with 'back office' support from larger government agencies also reflects a government looking to provide greater value to the community by avoiding duplication of 'overhead' costs.

Efficiency initiatives Scotland, Northern Ireland, Singapore and elsewhere also reflect this trend, probably accelerated by the fiscal pressures on all Governments since the global economic crisis.

The circumstances in New Zealand need to be considered in this light.

The changes in New Zealand do not necessarily diminish the availability of "independent regulation" of the charitable sector in New Zealand, and are more likely indicative of a public expectation of greater value from regulators.

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

WWF UK’s total income rose seven per cent in 2014 financial year

27 Jan 2015

WWF UK's total income for the year ending June 2014 rose to £62.2m, an increase of £3.8m, or seven per...

Rape crisis centre to close following bullying row

27 Jan 2015

A rape crisis centre in Scotland has decided to close after an employment tribunal ruled that a former...

Over £100m drawn down from Big Society Capital

26 Jan 2015

Cumulative figures from Big Society Capital have shown that since its inception in 2012 £104m has now...

BP donations to Tate 'embarrassingly small' say campaigners

27 Jan 2015

An arts charity has criticised the Tate for accepting an “embarrassingly small” amount of money from...

Band Aid 30 donates first £1.8m to aid charities

27 Jan 2015

Band Aid 30, the music industry fundraising initiative, has donated the first £1.8m raised from an updated...

Big Lottery Fund awards £150m to local neighbourhood foundation

23 Jan 2015

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded £150m to a new community grantmaking foundation to help individuals...

Comparison website for special needs services launched by charity consortium

23 Jan 2015

A coalition of social care charities has launched a TripAdvisor-style website, designed to help families...

CRUK debuts contactless giving through shop windows

21 Jan 2015

Cancer Research UK has announced a collaboration with outdoor media owner Clear Channel to bring contactless...

Charity IT Association will provide free technology advice

15 Jan 2015

Four IT organisations have pooled their resources to launch the Charity IT Association and provide free...

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 <<