Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd has opened a consultation on strengthening the powers of the Charity Commission.
The consultation which runs until 12 February 2014 will review how the Charity Commission deals with serious abuse and how the range of criminal offences that disqualify people from being a charity trustee could be extended.
The proposed changes include:
- a new discretionary power for the Charity Commission to disqualify a person who is unfit from acting as a charity trustee
- extending the range of criminal offences which automatically bar a person from acting as a charity trustee
- a new statutory warning power
- a new power enabling the Charity Commission to close down a charity
- extensions of several existing powers and technical changes to close a number of loopholes
Whilst deliberate abuse of charities is unusual, the National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the Charity Commission for failing to regulate the charitable sector effectively. Margaret Hodge, Chairman of The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the commission had “tough questions to answer”.
The Charity Commission has accepted the NAOs recommendations and fully supports the consultation.