New coalition demands charity reform

A coalition of UK charities that includes Amnesty International
and the NSPCC has been launched to campaign for the reform of the
400-year-old English charity law, writes Sally

National Council for Voluntary Organisations chief executive
Stuart Etherington renewed calls for the introduction of a new
public benefit test for charities, which was proposed by the
government’s strategy unit last year.

He told the NCVO annual conference: “We are not trying to remove
charitable status from any one type of organisation. The Charities
Bill Coalition believes that it is essential, in the interest of
preserving public confidence and trust in the voluntary sector,
that the legal definition of charity is simplified to make it much
clearer on what basis charitable status is awarded.”

He added: “The recommendations announced by the strategy unit
must be enacted through a new charity bill in the next
Queen’s speech. There can be no compromise and no delay.”

An ICM poll, commissioned by the NCVO, found that public
knowledge of the Charity Commission was very poor. One respondent
in three did not know the sector was subject to a regulator in the
same way as the public or private sectors.

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