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NCVO to review Charity Commission governance structure

NCVO will review the Charity Commission’s governance structure and appointments process in order to find ways for the regulator to put questions about its political neutrality to rest for good, it was announced today.

Writing in a blog post on the NCVO website, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, said:

‘Subsequent Commission boards, and particularly chairs, have been subject to the accusation that as appointees of the government of the day they are in some way politically biased. One does not have to accept that these accusations have any merit in order to see that they can be damaging.’

NCVO will investigate potential alternative models of governance for the Commission, and ways to strengthen perceptions of its independence. The review will draw on comparisons from other regulators and similar bodies.

In undertaking a review, NCVO was making no criticism of the current board or of Commission staff, Sir Stuart added:

‘They are operating under a framework created for them by others. The Commission’s structure is defined by statute and its operations are constrained in many ways by central government, which sets its budget.’

Sir Stuart linked questions over the Commission’s governance to questions about its future financing. NCVO is to host a round-table discussion shortly on the possibility of charities contributing to the Commission’s funding. NCVO believe that changes to the funding and governance arrangements of the Commission cannot be made in isolation from each other, as they both raise questions of independence and accountability.

NCVO will consult its members and other stakeholders during the course of the review, which is expected to conclude next summer. As part of the course of the review, NCVO will also seek to identify if any areas of the Commission’s work would benefit from further thought or scrutiny.

More details are contained in Sir Stuart’s blog post.

NCVO also announced that, following the general election, it will carry out a review of the environment for campaigning. The review is expected to draw on international comparisons and will publish recommendations intended to help secure the environment for charities’ advocacy work.


For further information, please contact the NCVO press office.


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