Blunkett to consult voluntary groups about changes to charity legislation

The home secretary last week promised to introduce a charities bill
as “soon as possible” to replace the 400-year-old charity

David Blunkett also pledged to consult the voluntary sector about
what would be included in the draft proposals. But he added that
voluntary groups would need to keep up the pressure on the
government to guarantee that the forthcoming bill did not become
lost among other “competing demands”.

Blunkett told the annual conference of the National Council of
Voluntary Organisations held in London last week: “You are part of
the process of delivering legislation.”

Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, which has set up a
coalition to support the bill, welcomed the announcement.

He said: “NCVO and others in the newly-launched Charities Bill
Coalition are determined that, having come this far, charity law
makes it from the shelf on to the statute books and does not slip
down the political agenda.

“We will continue to press the government for a full commitment to
a charities bill in this year’s Queen’s Speech.”

Among the bill’s measures will be a public benefit test to build
confidence and trust in the voluntary sector, which is seen as
essential as the sector becomes more involved in public services

Blunkett said: “We need to set aside squabbles between different
forms of provision and provider so that we can deliver with, not
to, communities the sort of self-help services they want.”

He appealed to local government to involve the voluntary sector
more and said government would ask 2,000 community and voluntary
groups what they wanted from the bill.

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