CFDG Response to 'Private Action, Public Benefit'

30th December 2002

After a lengthy and thorough consultation process with their members, the Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG) has given an enthusiastic welcome to the Strategy Unit Report 'Private Action, Public Benefit'.

Following the consultation, CFDG has:
· Supported the relaxation of the law to allow charities to undertake trading without the need for a separate trading company;
· Welcomed the proposed Charitable Incorporated Organisation; and
· Welcomed the recommendation for a standard information return (SIR) for charities with an income of over £1 million.

Although CFDG welcomes these proposals they have expressed a number of concerns about the detail of the proposals as set out in Private Action, Public Benefit. In relation to trading, CFDG have expressed specific concerns about the proposed duty of care and the need to amend tax law to ensure that any amendments are tax neutral.

Although CFDG has supported the introduction of a SIR, they are concerned that it could be damaging if introduced in the form as currently proposed. They argue that finance directors must play a key role in developing the SIR.

Despite CFDG's strong welcome for the Report, they expressed disappointment that the report ignored the impact of VAT on the sector, one of the biggest issues holding back sector development.

CFDG is also disappointed that the report did not consider which other administrative burdens outside of charity law hold back the sector. CFDG will be meeting with the Better Regulation Task force in the new year to discuss this issue.

CFDG has not commented in detail on all of the recommendations and is happy to support our peer umbrella organisations where they are more appropriate respondents (including NCVO on the issues of Public Benefit and the Institute of Fundraising on the major fundraising proposals.)

CFDG Chief Executive, Shirley Scott said "It is vital that we iron out the details of the proposals and ensure that we get them right. If we don't do this we actually risk damaging rather than raising public confidence. We hope and expect that CFDG will play a valuable role in further shaping and implementing the proposals, and in helping inform and educate the wider sector on how they can work within the newly proposed framework."

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