Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill – NCVO comment

Responding to the committee’s report, Elizabeth Chamberlain, policy manager at NCVO, said:

‘The committee’s work is a testament to the value of proper pre-legislative scrutiny. We’ve had a process where the government has consulted on proposals, it has amended them based on consultation feedback, and now a committee has further scrutinised and improved them. This is how all legislation should be dealt with, and the forthcoming bill will be all the better for this work.

‘It was always going to be tricky to balance giving the Commission enough discretion that it can operate without too many impediments with ensuring there are safeguards for charities subject to its attentions. The committee’s proposals are sensible and help to achieve this balance. There were a number of powers in the draft bill that would have given the Commission too much power to act on potentially subjective grounds. The committee agreed with our proposals for provisions here to guard against inappropriate use of these powers and we hope the government takes their suggestions on board.

‘The committee recommend that the government revisit the issue of preventative directions against acts of potential misconduct. But we think that the government was right to drop this proposal following its consultation, and we would be concerned if the idea were to reappear. While superficially appealing, such a power is beset with practical and legal problems.

‘We are pleased to see the committee give attention to the banking problems faced by charities operating in conflict zones. These issues are complex and a commitment from the government to help address them would be very welcome.’

ENDS

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