On receiving Royal Assent last month, the UK Charities Act has now become law.
After criticism of charity fundraising practices during last year, new clauses have been added to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill to address fundraising and the Charity Commission’s powers have been extended.
“The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill 2016 is part of a big reform programme for charities and social enterprises which will support a sector that is more resilient, independent and sustainable,” said Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson.
“Through this Act, the Charity Commission will be better able to tackle abuses, charities will be supported to participate in social investment and the sector can take a more robust stance towards fundraising.”
The key changes include that the Commission will now have the ability to close a charity, disqualify trustees and senior managers or to publicly issue warnings to a trustee or charity where it thinks a “breach of trust or duty or other misconduct or mismanagement” has taken place.
After ministerial warnings to the sector of one last chance at making self-regulation work, the Act enables the government to set up a statutory regulator or hand full responsibility for fundraising regulation to the Charity Commission, if the new Fundraising Regulator is judged to have failed.
Charities with an income over £1m must report how many complaints they receive about fundraising and summarise their approach to raising money in their annual report.
A review of the Act and how the Commission is using its powers will be carried out three years from now.