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Charities Bill (HC Bill 257)

A

BILL

TO

Consolidate the Charities Act 1993 and other enactments which relate to
charities.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present
Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1 Meaning of “charity” and “charitable purpose”

CHAPTER 1 General

Charity

1 5Meaning of “charity”

(1) For the purposes of the law of England and Wales, “charity” means an
institution which—

(a) is established for charitable purposes only, and

(b) falls to be subject to the control of the High Court in the exercise of its
10jurisdiction with respect to charities.

(2) The definition of “charity” in subsection (1) does not apply for the purposes of
an enactment if a different definition of that term applies for those purposes by
virtue of that or any other enactment.

Charitable purpose

2 15Meaning of “charitable purpose”

(1) For the purposes of the law of England and Wales, a charitable purpose is a
purpose which—

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(a) falls within section 3(1), and

(b) is for the public benefit (see section 4).

(2) Any reference in any enactment or document (in whatever terms)—

(a) to charitable purposes, or

(b) 5to institutions having purposes that are charitable under the law
relating to charities in England and Wales,

is to be read in accordance with subsection (1).

(3) Subsection (2) does not apply where the context otherwise requires.

(4) This section is subject to section 11 (which makes special provision for Chapter

102

of this Part onwards).

3 Descriptions of purposes

(1) A purpose falls within this subsection if it falls within any of the following
descriptions of purposes—

(a) 15the prevention or relief of poverty;

(b) the advancement of education;

(c) the advancement of religion;

(d) the advancement of health or the saving of lives;

(e) the advancement of citizenship or community development;

(f) 20the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science;

(g) the advancement of amateur sport;

(h) the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation
or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and
diversity;

(i) 25the advancement of environmental protection or improvement;

(j) the relief of those in need because of youth, age, ill-health, disability,
financial hardship or other disadvantage;

(k) the advancement of animal welfare;

(l) the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown or of
30the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance
services;

(m) any other purposes—

(i) that are not within paragraphs (a) to (l) but are recognised as
charitable purposes by virtue of section 5 (recreational and
35similar trusts, etc.) or under the old law,

(ii) that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the
spirit of, any purposes falling within any of paragraphs (a) to (l)
or sub-paragraph (i), or

(iii) that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to, or within the
40spirit of, any purposes which have been recognised, under the
law relating to charities in England and Wales, as falling within
sub-paragraph (ii) or this sub-paragraph.

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) in paragraph (c), “religion” includes—

(i) 45a religion which involves belief in more than one god, and

(ii) a religion which does not involve belief in a god,

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(b) in paragraph (d), “the advancement of health” includes the prevention
or relief of sickness, disease or human suffering,

(c) paragraph (e) includes—

(i) rural or urban regeneration, and

(ii) 5the promotion of civic responsibility, volunteering, the
voluntary sector or the effectiveness or efficiency of charities,

(d) in paragraph (g), “sport” means sports or games which promote health
by involving physical or mental skill or exertion,

(e) paragraph (j) includes relief given by the provision of accommodation
10or care to the persons mentioned in that paragraph, and

(f) in paragraph (l), “fire and rescue services” means services provided by
fire and rescue authorities under Part 2 of the Fire and Rescue Services
Act 2004.

(3) Where any of the terms used in any of paragraphs (a) to (l) of subsection (1), or
15in subsection (2), has a particular meaning under the law relating to charities
in England and Wales, the term is to be taken as having the same meaning
where it appears in that provision.

(4) In subsection (1)(m)(i), “the old law” means the law relating to charities in
England and Wales as in force immediately before 1 April 2008.

4 20The public benefit requirement

(1) In this Act “the public benefit requirement” means the requirement in section
2(1)(b) that a purpose falling within section 3(1) must be for the public benefit
if it is to be a charitable purpose.

(2) In determining whether the public benefit requirement is satisfied in relation
25to any purpose falling within section 3(1), it is not to be presumed that a
purpose of a particular description is for the public benefit.

(3) In this Chapter any reference to the public benefit is a reference to the public
benefit as that term is understood for the purposes of the law relating to
charities in England and Wales.

(4) 30Subsection (3) is subject to subsection (2).

Recreational trusts and registered sports clubs

5 Recreational and similar trusts, etc.

(1) It is charitable (and is to be treated as always having been charitable) to
provide, or assist in the provision of, facilities for—

(a) 35recreation, or

(b) other leisure-time occupation,

if the facilities are provided in the interests of social welfare.

(2) The requirement that the facilities are provided in the interests of social welfare
cannot be satisfied if the basic conditions are not met.

(3) 40The basic conditions are—

(a) that the facilities are provided with the object of improving the
conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities are primarily
intended, and

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(b) that—

(i) those persons have need of the facilities because of their youth,
age, infirmity or disability, poverty, or social and economic
circumstances, or

(ii) 5the facilities are to be available to members of the public at large
or to male, or to female, members of the public at large.

(4) Subsection (1) applies in particular to—

(a) the provision of facilities at village halls, community centres and
women’s institutes, and

(b) 10the provision and maintenance of grounds and buildings to be used for
purposes of recreation or leisure-time occupation,

and extends to the provision of facilities for those purposes by the organising
of any activity.

But this is subject to the requirement that the facilities are provided in the
15interests of social welfare.

(5) Nothing in this section is to be treated as derogating from the public benefit
requirement.

6 Registered sports clubs

(1) A registered sports club established for charitable purposes is to be treated as
20not being so established, and accordingly cannot be a charity.

(2) In subsection (1), “registered sports club” means a registered club within the
meaning of Chapter 9 of Part 13 of the Corporation Tax Act 2010 (community
amateur sports clubs).

Supplementary

7 25Application of this Chapter in relation to Scotland

(1) This Chapter affects the law of Scotland only in so far as it affects the
construction of references to—

(a) charities, or

(b) charitable purposes,

30in enactments which relate to matters falling within Section A1 of Part 2 of
Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 (reserved matters: fiscal policy etc.).

(2) In so far as this Chapter affects the law of Scotland—

(a) references in sections 1(1) and 2(1) to the law of England and Wales are
to be read as references to the law of Scotland, and

(b) 35the reference in section 1(1) to the High Court is to be read as a reference
to the Court of Session.

8 Application of this Chapter in relation to Northern Ireland

(1) This Chapter affects the law of Northern Ireland only in so far as it affects the
construction of references to—

(a) 40charities, or

(b) charitable purposes,

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in enactments which relate to matters falling within paragraph 9 of Schedule 2
to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (excepted matters: taxes and duties).

(2) In so far as this Chapter affects the law of Northern Ireland—

(a) references in sections 1(1) and 2(1) to the law of England and Wales are
5to be read as references to the law of Northern Ireland, and

(b) the reference in section 1(1) to the High Court is to be read as a reference
to the High Court in Northern Ireland.

9 Interpretation

(1) In this Chapter “enactment” includes—

(a) 10any provision of subordinate legislation (within the meaning of the
Interpretation Act 1978), and

(b) a provision of a Measure of the Church Assembly or of the General
Synod of the Church of England,

and references to enactments include enactments whenever passed or made.

(2) 15In section 2(2) the reference to a document includes a document whenever
made.

(3) In this Act “institution” means an institution whether incorporated or not, and
includes a trust or undertaking.

(4) Subsections (1) to (3) apply except where the context otherwise requires.

CHAPTER 2 20Special provision for this Act

10 Ecclesiastical corporations etc. not charities in certain contexts

(1) In the rest of this Act, “charity”, except in so far as the context otherwise
requires, has the meaning given by section 1(1).

(2) But in the rest of this Act (apart from Chapter 3 of Part 17) “charity” is not
25applicable to—

(a) any ecclesiastical corporation in respect of the corporate property of the
corporation, except a corporation aggregate having some purposes
which are not ecclesiastical in respect of its corporate property held for
those purposes,

(b) 30any Diocesan Board of Finance, or any subsidiary of such a Board, in
respect of the diocesan glebe land of the diocese, or

(c) any trust of property for purposes for which the property has been
consecrated.

(3) “Ecclesiastical corporation” means any corporation in the Church of England,
35whether sole or aggregate, which is established for spiritual purposes.

(4) “Diocesan Board of Finance”, “subsidiary” and “diocesan glebe land” have the
same meaning as in the Endowments and Glebe Measure 1976.

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11 Charitable purposes

In the rest of this Act, “charitable purposes” means, except in so far as the
context otherwise requires, purposes which are exclusively charitable
purposes (as defined by section 2(1)).

12 5Directions as to what is (or is not) a separate charity

(1) The Commission (see section 13) may direct that for all or any of the purposes
of this Act an institution established for any special purposes of or in
connection with a charity (being charitable purposes) is to be treated—

(a) as forming part of that charity, or

(b) 10as forming a distinct charity.

(2) The Commission may direct that for all or any of the purposes of this Act two
or more charities having the same charity trustees are to be treated as a single
charity.

Part 2 15The Charity Commission and the Official Custodian for Charities

The Commission

13 The Charity Commission

(1) There continues to be a body corporate known as the Charity Commission for
England and Wales (in this Act referred to as “the Commission”).

(2) 20In Welsh the Commission is known as “Comisiwn Elusennau Cymru a Lloegr”.

(3) The functions of the Commission are performed on behalf of the Crown.

(4) In the exercise of its functions the Commission is not subject to the direction or
control of any Minister of the Crown or of another government department.

(5) But subsection (4) does not affect—

(a) 25any provision made by or under any enactment;

(b) any administrative controls exercised over the Commission’s
expenditure by the Treasury.

(6) Schedule 1 contains provisions relating to the Commission.

14 The Commission’s objectives

30The Commission has the following objectives—

1. The public confidence objective
The public confidence objective is to increase public trust and
confidence in charities.
2. The public benefit objective
35The public benefit objective is to promote awareness and
understanding of the operation of the public benefit requirement.

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3. The compliance objective
The compliance objective is to promote compliance by charity trustees
with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of
the administration of their charities.
4. 5The charitable resources objective
The charitable resources objective is to promote the effective use of
charitable resources.
5. The accountability objective
The accountability objective is to enhance the accountability of charities
10to donors, beneficiaries and the general public.

15 The Commission’s general functions

(1) The Commission has the following general functions—

1. Determining whether institutions are or are not charities.
2. Encouraging and facilitating the better administration of charities.
3. 15Identifying and investigating apparent misconduct or mismanagement
in the administration of charities and taking remedial or protective
action in connection with misconduct or mismanagement in the
administration of charities.
4. Determining whether public collections certificates should be issued,
20and remain in force, in respect of public charitable collections.
5. Obtaining, evaluating and disseminating information in connection
with the performance of any of the Commission’s functions or meeting
any of its objectives.
6. Giving information or advice, or making proposals, to any Minister of
25the Crown on matters relating to any of the Commission’s functions or
meeting any of its objectives.

(2) The Commission may, in connection with its second general function, give
such advice or guidance with respect to the administration of charities as it
considers appropriate.

(3) 30Any advice or guidance so given may relate to—

(a) charities generally,

(b) any class of charities, or

(c) any particular charity,

and may take such form, and be given in such manner, as the Commission
35considers appropriate.

(4) The Commission’s fifth general function includes (among other things) the
maintenance of an accurate and up-to-date register of charities under sections
29 (the register) and 34 (removal of charities from register).

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(5) The Commission’s sixth general function includes (among other things)
complying, so far as is reasonably practicable, with any request made by a
Minister of the Crown for information or advice on any matter relating to any
of its functions.

(6) 5In this section “public charitable collection” and “public collections certificate”
have the same meaning as in Chapter 1 of Part 3 of the Charities Act 2006.

16 The Commission’s general duties

The Commission has the following general duties—

1.

10So far as is reasonably practicable the Commission must, in performing
its functions, act in a way—

(a)

which is compatible with its objectives, and

(b)

which it considers most appropriate for the purpose of meeting
those objectives.


15
2.

So far as is reasonably practicable the Commission must, in performing
its functions, act in a way which is compatible with the encouragement
of—

(a)

20all forms of charitable giving, and

(b)

voluntary participation in charity work.


3. In performing its functions the Commission must have regard to the
need to use its resources in the most efficient, effective and economic
25way.
4. In performing its functions the Commission must, so far as relevant,
have regard to the principles of best regulatory practice (including the
principles under which regulatory activities should be proportionate,
accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted only at cases in which
30action is needed).
5. In performing its functions the Commission must, in appropriate cases,
have regard to the desirability of facilitating innovation by or on behalf
of charities.
6. In managing its affairs the Commission must have regard to such
35generally accepted principles of good corporate governance as it is
reasonable to regard as applicable to it.

17 Guidance as to operation of public benefit requirement

(1) The Commission must issue guidance in pursuance of its public benefit
objective (see paragraph 2 of section 14).

(2) 40The Commission may from time to time revise any guidance issued under this
section.

(3) The Commission must carry out such public and other consultation as it
considers appropriate—

(a) before issuing any guidance under this section, or

(b) 45(unless it considers that it is unnecessary to do so) before revising any
guidance under this section.

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(4) The Commission must publish any guidance issued or revised under this
section in such manner as it considers appropriate.

(5) The charity trustees of a charity must have regard to any such guidance when
exercising any powers or duties to which the guidance is relevant.

18 5Supply by Commission of copies of documents

The Commission must, at the request of any person, provide that person with
copies of, or extracts from, any document in the Commission’s possession
which is for the time being open to or available for inspection under any
provision of this Act.

19 10Fees and other amounts payable to Commission

(1) The Minister may by regulations require the payment to the Commission of
such fees as may be prescribed by the regulations in respect of—

(a) the discharge by the Commission of such functions under the
enactments relating to charities as may be so prescribed;

(b) 15the inspection of the register of charities or of other material kept by the
Commission under those enactments, or the provision of copies of or
extracts from documents so kept.

(2) Regulations under this section may—

(a) confer, or provide for the conferring of, exemptions from liability to pay
20a prescribed fee;

(b) provide for the remission or refunding of a prescribed fee (in whole or
in part) in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

(3) The Commission may impose charges of such amounts as it considers
reasonable in respect of the supply of any publications produced by it.

(4) 25Any fees and other payments received by the Commission by virtue of this
section are to be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

20 Incidental powers

(1) The Commission may do anything which is calculated to facilitate, or is
conducive or incidental to, the performance of any of its functions or general
30duties.

(2) But nothing in this Act authorises the Commission—

(a) to exercise functions corresponding to those of a charity trustee in
relation to a charity, or

(b) otherwise to be directly involved in the administration of a charity.

(3) 35Subsection (2) does not affect the operation of section 84 or 85 (power of
Commission to direct specified action to be taken or to direct application of
charity property).