Wide-ranging changes in the law and regulation of the charitable and not-for-profit sectors are proposed in the new consultation document published by the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit.
The report Private Action, Public Benefit calls for:
Welcoming the report, Prime Minister Tony Blair, said:
The report proposes a new definition of charity with 10 clear purposes of charity:
In addition the report makes the following recommendations:
There will be the first purpose-made legal form for charities, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Plus a new legal form for social enterprises, the Community Interest Company, with legal protection against demutualisation, and assets and profits locked in for social purposes.
The public will be able to get clearer information about larger charities' effectiveness, performance and financial position through a new Standard Information Return.
A new independent body will be set up to oversee good practice in fundraising, along with a new simplified licensing system for public collections. But if the voluntary initiative fails, the Home Secretary should have the power to set up a compulsory system.
Red tape will be cut back for smaller charities by increasing the threshold for charity registration from £1,000 to £10,000. This would free tens of thousands of charities from the need to register. There will also be a new status of Small Charity for those, which are too small to register.
A more open and accountable Charity Commission, with a larger board to include a wider range of stakeholders, and separate Chair and Chief Executive roles. The Commission will have to report to Parliament on new, clear statutory objectives, and hold open board meetings. It will also issue reports on performance in areas of the charitable sector.
Easier appeals against the regulator's decisions through a new independent tribunal. This will enable trustees to challenge decisions at reasonable cost.
The Home Office and Strategy Unit will jointly be holding a number of consultation events across the UK, plus meetings with representative bodies. Full details will be published on the Strategy Unit website.
Send any comments on the process by 31 December 2002 to:
The Strategy Unit report Private Action, Public Benefit is available on the website:
Or by phoning the Strategy Unit on: 020 7276 1434
The Strategy Unit provides the Prime Minister and Government departments with a capacity to analyse major cross-cutting and strategic policy issues and to design solutions to problems.
This copy from www.caledonia.org.uk