We've been used to the debate about defining a 'charity' mostly through discussion of the beneficiaries - should Eton have charitable status? Or the Royal Opera House for that matter?
However there's a different debate - sometimes it might be called the 'sockpuppet' debate - where the organisation with charitable status is, essentially, a delivery agent for the government.
Here's a good example:
The accounts show that St Andrew’s increased its income from £168.7m in 2011/12 to £178m last year. Expenditure rose from £156.2m to £161.2m and the charity increased its funds carried forward from £175.4m in 2011/12 to £192.6m last year.
The charity received donations totalling £22,000 in 2012/13, down from £30,000 in the previous year.
Note that last line. This multi-million pound 'charity' raised just £22,000 in what I would call voluntary income. And the rest?
The charity, which employs about 3,100 people and receives the majority of its income from the NHS...
And, as a result, this organisation:
... has 57 employees on salaries of more than £100,000 a year
Including a chief executive paid £653,000.
It seems to me that this is a large and successful business paying its senior people very well and I'm sure providing fantastic care for its mentally ill clients. But is this what we mean by charity?