The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 continues to have an impact, with a raft of provisions coming into force on 1 October 2016 and 1 November 2016.
A number of provisions came into force on 1 July 2016 and trustees should be familiar with the changes that have been made and the greater powers now bestowed upon the Charity Commission.
What changes can trustees expect?
Section 10 of the Act gives the Charity Commission the power to disqualify a person from being a trustee. Some people are already disqualified by law from acting as charity trustees but the implementation of section 10 will extend the powers of the Charity Commission.
The Charity Commission is now able by order to disqualify a person from being a charity trustee, and thereby from holding an office or employment in the charity with senior management functions, if the person
- is unfit to be a charity trustee;
- was a trustee, charity trustee, officer, agent or employee of a charity at a time when there was misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity;
- was an officer or employee of a body corporate at a time when the body was a trustee or charity trustee for a charity and when there was misconduct or mismanagement by it in the administration of the charity;
- that any other past or continuing conduct by the person, whether or not in relation to a charity, is damaging or likely to be damaging to public trust and confidence in charities generally or in the charities or classes of charity specified or described in the order.
Are there any other changes?
Section 11(5) of the Act will be implemented to the extent that it has not already been so and this will address records of disqualification and removal.
What further changes can we expect on 1 November 2016?
The advent of November will see the implementation of section 1 of the Act governing official warnings issued by the Charity Commission, an extension on the powers of investigation and the power to suspend, and a complete section on fundraising.
The Act will include three new controls on charity fundraising, prompted by concerns raised in the media about charity fundraising practices and especially the tragic case of poppy seller Olive Cooke who was overwhelmed by charity requests.
It is currently unlawful for a professional fund-raiser to solicit money or other property for the benefit of a charitable institution unless he does so in accordance with an agreement with the institution satisfying the prescribed requirements or for a commercial participator to represent that charitable contributions are to be given to or applied for the benefit of a charitable institution unless he does so also in accordance with an agreement with the institution satisfying the prescribed requirements.
Two new sections are to be added to section 59 of the Charities Act 1992 with the intention of protecting vulnerable people, ensuring that behaviour is not
- an unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy;
- consists of unreasonably persistent approaches for the purpose of soliciting or otherwise procuring money or other property; or
- placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property.
What will this mean for my charity?
Many of the provisions of the Act help to address gaps in the Charity Commission’s protective powers and will only affect a relatively small number of charities and individuals.
However, it also makes a few significant changes – most notably on disqualification – of which all charities will need to be aware. The timetable gives trustees sufficient time to take any action that is needed.
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