Charities Registration and Regulation Bill

Closed 5 Oct 2018

Opened 24 Aug 2018

Results expected 2 Nov 2018

Feedback Updated 7 Nov 2018

We Asked

The Attorney General’s Chambers sought your views on proposed new legislation which aims to update and improve the effectiveness of the registration and regulation of Charities in the Island.

You Said

The consultation attracted 20 responses.  There were a number of categories of respondent, including Statutory Boards, individuals, businesses and a charity.  The responses were broadly supportive of the proposals in the Bill, with the creation of a Charities Tribunal, clarification of the meaning of “charitable purpose” and the improvements in regulatory effectiveness being particularly welcomed by a number of responders.   Other themes raised included:

 

  1. That the advancement of religion should no longer be a charitable purpose (five responses)
  2. Whether the “close connection” test (ie that a charity have a substantial and genuine connection with the Island in order to register here) should be retained (four responses)
  3. Whether foreign charities should be put to possible additional expense of having to file accounts relating to their activities on the Island, as opposed to their global activities (three responses)
  4. Concerns as to the adequacy of oversight of safeguarding issues (three responses), and
  5. Concerns as to the references in the draft Bill to the FSA (four responses).

We Did

We considered the responses and made appropriate amendments to the draft Bill. No amendment has been made in respect of (1), (2) and (3). This is because the purpose of providing a statutory definition of “charitable purpose” is so that the meaning in the Island remains at least as broad as in England and Wales, where the advancement of religion continues to be a charitable purpose. Further, an express purpose of the draft Bill is to ensure more effective regulation, which would be hindered if charities could legitimately operate in/from here without sufficient connection, or if they did not have to provide adequately detailed information as to their activities connected with the Island. However, changes have been made to increase (4) oversight as regards safeguarding matters. Automatic disclosure to the FSA (5) has been replaced with provisions enabling disclosure between public bodies and the Attorney General for the purposes of the discharge of their respective statutory functions. A number of other mostly consequential/technical amendments have also been made to the draft Bill.

Overview

The purpose of the consultation is to collect views on proposed new legislation which aims to update and improve the effectiveness of the registration and regulation of Charities in the Island.

Why We Are Consulting

The registration and regulation of charities is currently provided for by the Charities Registration Act 1989. Over time, the provisions of that Act have become outdated and additional requirements are necessary so that there is a modern system in place which will enable the public to retain confidence in the Manx charitable sector. It is also necessary to take account of recent changes to the meaning of “charity” in England and Wales so that bona fide charities which are established in that jurisdiction are not prevented from carrying on activities here.

The Bill does not seek to make any changes to the nature of an organisation that can register as a charity in the Island, such as imposing an income threshold, nor does it alter the requirement that it have a substantial and genuine connection with the Island. Further, whilst the Bill extends the authority of the Attorney General as regards giving consent to certain steps to be taken by charities, it does not seek to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court, which is provided by the Charities Act 1962.

The Bill has six main purposes, namely:

  • To update the meaning of ‘charity’ in the Island so that it remains at least as broad as in England and Wales
  • To provide for a modern register of charities which are carrying out activities within the Island
  • To assist charity trustees (however described, eg as trustees, directors or committee members) in the proper delivery of their charity’s objectives, by ensuring that charities have constitutional documents which are fit for purpose and that the process of responding to a changing environment is straightforward and inexpensive;
  • To ensure more effective regulation of charities by increasing reporting requirements and ensuring accountability within the Island on the part of all charities carrying on activities here, in addition to providing for the automatic disqualification of individuals for acting as trustees on the happening of certain events and for consideration of the risk of a charity seeking registration to be used for money laundering activities or the financing of terrorism
  • To improve public service and administrative efficiency  by combining the functions of registrar and regulator in HM Attorney General, thus mirroring the Charity Commission in England and Wales
  • To provide a simplified mechanism for appealing decisions of the registrar/regulator by establishing a Charities Tribunal

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Business owner

Interests

  • Economy