CFDG Welcome Progress Towards Charities Bill

21st July 2003

CFDG Chief Executive, Shirley Scott, has responded to the some of the key recommendations in the Home Office Report "Charities and Not-for-Profits: A Modern Legal Framework".

"General
We are delighted that the summary of responses has been published and we look forward to early publication of the draft Charities Bill. It will be helpful to have a definition of "charity", and the proposed right of appeal on Commission decisions should go someway towards calming anxieties amongst new organisations.

SORP
We are pleased that the Government has accepted the need for more consistency in reporting and we welcome the support for developments to the SORP. CFDG's own inputs project will be published in the autumn and we expect this to play a key role in helping the Charity Commission and the SORP committee meet this recommendation.

Standard Information Return
We welcome the fact that the Charity Commission will consult with charities on the SIR and expect to play a key part in this work. Good consultation is vital if the SIR is to prove useful and successful in raising public confidence in charities.

Trading
We are disappointed that the Government have been unable to say that changes to trading would be tax neutral, and have refused to back proposals to relax the laws on charity trading despite the fact that 84% of respondents supported them.

Registration Threshold
We welcome the proposed increase of the registration threshold to £5,000 and the fact that organisations with an income under this size will still be able to register voluntarily.

Audit Threshold
We welcome the proposed increase in the Audit Threshold to £500,000. We believe that provisions should be placed in the Charities Bill to enable the threshold to be changed in the future by secondary rather than primary regulation.

Endowments
The Government will permit the expenditure of permanent endowment where to do so will provide for a more effective means of fulfilling the purposes of the charity. We welcome this but believe however that any conversion should be fully explained in the Annual Report and Accounts.

Charitable Incorporated Organisation
CFDG welcome the proposed CIO.

Benchmarking
We are pleased that the Government has announced that the ACU will commission a strategy to identify development and investment priorities for improving performance within the Voluntary and Community Sector."

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