Statutory fundraising regulation and new constitutional form should go, say lawyers

21 Jan 2011 News

The Charity Law Association has advised the Charity Commission that the Charitable Incorporated Organisation and statutory fundraising regulation should both be scrapped in light of the regulator’s forthcoming budget cuts.

Julian Blake, partner, Bates Wells & Braithwaite

The Charity Law Association has advised the Charity Commission that the Charitable Incorporated Organisation and statutory fundraising regulation should both be scrapped in light of the regulator’s forthcoming budget cuts.

In its response to the Commission’s consultation on its strategy review, the CLA wrote: “The CIO is not a necessity in changed circumstances.  The same is true of statutory fundraising regulation.”

Julian Blake (pictured), chair of the CLA, said he understood that there was political momentum behind the CIO and that it was outside the scope of the Commission’s review, but the CLA couldn’t see why.

“If we are talking about cutting costs, the introduction of the CIO will be quite a significant cost and we can survive without it,” he said. “We think it should be reviewed along with everything else.”

The statutory fundraising regulation referred to is the proposed enactment this year of part three of the Charities Act, which seeks to make the Commission responsible for regulating public collections of money.  The Commission has never been happy about accepting this role and there appears to be little political will to drive it through.  

Blake said the CLA wanted to add its voice to those that feel it is an unnecessary new statutory function.  “The self-regulatory regime has evolved to the point where it is looking after fundraising perfectly well,” he said.  “Also this goes against whole deregulatory principle.”

The CLA’s submission adds that there is a “reasonable, practical case for some form of proportionate registration/annual/advice fee-charging based on service provision, provided it distinguishes between charities that can pay and charities that would find fees a burden”.

It also queries whether a large charities section is necessary given that large charities can afford to pay for appropriate advice.

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