Appendix 2: Call for Evidence |
The following call for evidence was issued by the
Committee on 17 November 2014:
The Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities
Bill, chaired by Lord Hope of Craighead, was appointed by the
two Houses of Parliament in early November 2014 to consider the
Draft Protection of Charities Bill, which was presented to the
two Houses on 22 October 2014. The Committee invites interested
individuals and organisations to submit evidence to this inquiry.
The Committee in particular will explore the following
key issues in detail, and would welcome your views on any or all
of the following questions. Please note that questions are not
listed here in any particular order of importance.
Written evidence should arrive no later than 16 December
2014. Public hearings will be held in November and December 2014
and January 2015. The Committee will report to the Houses, with
recommendations, in February 2015. The report will receive a response
from the Government. The time available for the Committee's inquiry
is short, and its focus will be on the contents of the draft Bill
rather than more general aspects of charities policy. The Committee
will not consider as part of its inquiry the merits of individual
cases which have been, or are now, subject to formal inquiries
by the Charity Commission, but will welcome any general observations
from charities and others based on the experience of working with
1) The draft Bill would provide the legislative basis
for a number of new powers to the Charity Commission, the unitary
civil regulator of a large and diverse range of charities in England
and Wales. In doing so, the Bill acknowledges that charities require
protection from misconduct and mismanagement by trustees. What
is the current nature and extent of mismanagement and misconduct
in the charity sector? How is this data gathered at present?
2) The Charity Commission has been perceived by some
to be struggling to act as an effective regulator. Is this borne
out by the evidence? If in your view it has been an ineffective
regulator is this down to a lack of sufficient powers, reduced
resources, or problems with its strategic or operational approach?
If the problem has been one of reduced resources, from where should
any additional resource be drawn?
3) Would the new powers in the draft Bill allow the
Charity Commission to be more effective having regard to its statutory
objectives set out in section 14 of the Charities Act 2011? Would
any of the seven proposals (Proposals 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14)
for new powers which were part of the Government's consultation
in December 2013 which have not been included in the draft Bill
be appropriate as well or instead?
4) How do the current and proposed powers of the
Charity Commission compare to those of other civil regulators?
5) Will the provisions in the draft Bill, as currently
drafted, fulfil their policy objectives (pages 78-79)? How could
the drafting of the Bill be improved?
6) Is the Government right to expand the criteria
for the automatic disqualification of trustees (clause 8)? Do
the suggested new criteria go far enough, or do they go too far?
Should the disqualification power also extend to persons holding
other positions of responsibility in a charity?
7) Are there sufficient safeguards in the draft Bill
for those subject to investigation and possible sanction by the
Charity Commission? Is the role of the Charity Tribunal sufficient?
8) What is the case for the Charity Commission to
be able to issue statutory warnings (clause 1)? What would be
required for this warning regime to achieve the policy objective
of providing a reasonable and proportionate way for the Commission
to deal with lower risk breaches of the Charities Act 2011 or
of fiduciary duties?
9) Should the Commission have power to prevent or
restrict actions which in the Commission's view would amount to
misconduct or mismanagement if they were allowed to proceed? If
so, what safeguards should this power be subject to?