A consultation into charging charities for regulation has been delayed because HM Treasury has not given it the go-ahead, a government spokeswoman confirmed today.
An announcement about the launch of a consultation on charities contributing to the commission’s funding had been widely expected this month, and a formal consulation has been anticipated since last spring.
Civil Society News understands that commission is keen to launch the consultation as soon as possible, and that it is ready to do so. But because it is a non-departmental public body which is funded by the Treasury the commission needs agreement from HM Treasury before it can launch the consultation.
A government spokeswoman said: “As a non-ministerial department, the Charity Commission agrees its funding settlement directly with HM Treasury.
“HMT agreement will be needed before any consultation. In relation to the commission's future funding, a range of options are under active consideration, but no decisions have been made, and no specific timetable has been agreed with the Charity Commission.”
The question of whether charities should pay towards the regulator has been raised a number of times over the past couple of years.
Last March the commission unveiled that it would begin the consultation in the spring and also shared a number of options at a public meeting.
William Shawcross, chair of the commission, has indicated on a number of occasions that he believes charities paying toward's the commission's costs is the best way to ensure financial sustainability.
He said at the regulator’s annual public meeting earlier this month that the regulator “does not have enough funding to support its future needs” and that his ambition is to improve the sustainability of the commission before his term comes to an end this year. At the time he said he hoped the consultation would launch "very soon".
The Charity Finance Group, Acevo, Navca and the Directory of Social Change have all said that they are opposed to the principle of charities paying for the regulator.