The recent Queens’ Speech and related briefing papers set out the government’s plans for new legislation. One of the Bills to be introduced will change the law on charities, how they are run, and how they are governed. New rules are on the way.
The necessary Bill will imminently be published but the key proposals are known. Here are 5 of the key proposed changes for charities and their trustees:
- charities and trustees will be able to amend their governing documents or Royal Charters more easily – remaining subject to the Commission and the Privy Council’s approval in certain circumstances
- charities will have access to a much wider pool of professional advisors on land disposal, and to more straightforward rules on what advice they must receive, which could save them time and money when selling land
- charities will have more flexibility to make use of a ‘permanent endowment’ – this is money or property originally meant to be held by a charity forever. This includes a change which will allow trustees to borrow a sum of up to 25% of the value of their permanent endowment funds, without the Commission’s approval
- trustees will be able to be paid for goods provided to a charity in certain circumstances, even if not expressly stated in the charity’s governing document (currently trustees can only be paid for supply of services). From pencils to paint, this will allow charities the flexibility to access goods from trustees when it is in the best interests of the charity (e.g. if cheaper), without needing Commission permission
- charities will be able to take advantage of simpler and more proportionate rules on failed appeals. For example, if a charity appeal raises too little money, the charity will be able to spend donations below £120 on similar charitable purposes without needing to contact individual donors for permission
With 169,000 charities registered in this country and over 950,000 trustees, supporting the work of over 3 million volunteers, to say nothing of the many millions more who benefit from charitable works, the Bill will affect many people.
The Whitehouse Communications team are experts in providing public affairs advice and political consultancy to a wide range of clients, especially charities and voluntary organisations, not only in the United Kingdom, but also across the member states of the European Union and beyond. For more information, please contact our Chair, Chris Whitehouse, at firstname.lastname@example.org.