Cutting red tape ‘could help charities save at least £2.8m’

21 Sep 17

Cutting excessive red tape could help charities run more effectively and save them at least £2.8m, according to a report from the Law Commission.

The Technical Issues in Charity Law report, out last week, stated problems in charity law prevented or delayed legitimate charitable activities.

It concluded this discouraged people from volunteering, and forced charities to obtain professional advice that should not be necessary.

As a result the independent law reform body has recommended changes to remove unnecessary bureaucracy with the aim of ensuring proper protections for the public, who donate around £9.7bn each year.

Nick Hopkins, law commissioner, said some of the technical law that governed the 167,000 registered charities in England and Wales, was "inefficient and unduly complex". 

“Our reforms would help make sure charities use their time and money in the best way to support their good causes, whilst providing oversight to ensure public confidence.”

Current legislation does not provide the Charity Commission with all the tools it needs to promote public trust in charities, the report found. 

Its recommendations include: 

For charities:

  • Give charities more flexibility to obtain tailored advice when they sell land – which could save £2.8m
  • Allow charities to amend their governing documents more easily with Charity Commission oversight where appropriate
  • Increase flexibility to use their permanent endowment
  • Remove legal barriers to charities merging

For the Charity Commission:

  • Bring in a single set of criteria to decide changes to a charity’s purposes
  • Increase powers to prevent charities using misleading names
  • Give the ability to confirm that trustees were properly appointed.

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