Voluntary sector's financial flank joins campaign for charities Bill

14th May 2003

The campaign for a charities bill received a big boost this week with the announcement that both the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) and the Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG) are now members of the Charities Bill Coalition. Other recent additions to the coalition which now has 29 members are Leonard Cheshire, and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Stephen Ainger, Chief Executive of CAF, said: 'CAF believes that the momentum for reform of charity law must be maintained by early legislation. To delay would mean kicking real change into the long grass. Transparency and accountability are central issues for charities and it is vital that all those committed to the future of charity in this country are able to see that organisations are having a major impact in their work. Reporting this impact through measures such as the proposed standard information return will build trust and confidence in the voluntary sector.'

Shirley Scott, Director of the Charity Finance Directors' Group said:
'It 's important not to lose the impetus for change created by the two Government reviews published last year. Several of the recommended changes will facilitate more straight forward accounting, especially in charity trading, which our members will welcome.'

Recently, the Charities Bill Coalition wrote to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers encouraging them to support the reform of charity law and urging them to press their colleagues in the Home Office to commit to a charities Bill in this year's Queen's speech.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) launched a campaign for a Charities Bill at the Labour Party Conference in October 2002. The Charities Bill Coalition was launched at NCVO's Annual Conference in February 2003 at which time the Home Secretary announced that a draft bill would be prepared for pre-legislative scrutiny.

Chris Stalker, Head of Campaigns at NCVO said: 'The Charities Bill Coalition is greatly strengthened by CAF and CFDG's decision to join it. The campaign for a Charities Bill is supported by a tremendously broad range of organisations who represent every aspect of the voluntary sector. Everybody in the Charities Bill Coalition are determined, that having come this far, charity law makes it from the shelf onto 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 Queens Speech.'

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