Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Is the Charity Commission admitting defeat on public benefit?


It certainly sounds that way...

Robert Pearce QC told the hearing in the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery) yesterday: "The commission’s programme of public benefit assessments is now at an end. "Irrespective of the outcome of this case, the commission intends to review the guidance in the light of its experience of its use."

Or more to the point, in a manner less likely to annoy Ministers by involving the courts in long drawn out reviews! As the National Council for Voluntary Organisations pointed out:

"The commission’s guidance on public benefit could be clearer, so the proposal that it should be reviewed after this week is welcomed."

Which was rather the point of the challenge from the Independent Schools Council - the Charity Commission were giving opaque guidance and then jumping up and down on a few schools that did not "comply" with this vague guidance. And, of course, the random nature of the Commissions interpretation of the guidance worried a load of other charities who, for whatever reason, charged fees.

Time to put Ms Leather back in her box and get the Charity Commission back to doing its core job - ensuring charities are meeting their charitable aims and are managed properly. End of.


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