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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July 2005, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Charities Bill

This bill seeks to reform laws governing the voluntary sector in the UK to improve the accountability and regulation of fundraisers.

Responsible department: Home Office
Origin: House of Lords
Introduced: 18 May 2005
Second reading: 7 June 2005
Committee stage: 28 June, 12,13 July 2005
Report stage: 12 & 18 October 2005
Third reading: 9 November 2005
First reading: 9 November 2005
Second reading: 26 June 2006
Committee stage: 4, 6, 11 and 13 July 2006
Report stage: 25 and 26 October 2006
Third Reading: 26 October

ROYAL ASSENT: 8 November
  • Includes many recommendations addressed by the prime minister's Strategy Unit in 2002, amending the Charities Acts of 1992 and 1993
  • The bill provides for the first time a general statutory definition of charity for the purposes of law.
  • The legislation will oblige organisations to pass a two-stage public benefit test to qualify as charity
  • The Charity Commission for England and Wales will be responsible for the accountability of the system

    BILL'S PROGRESS 2004/05
    Responsible department: Home Office
    Origin: House of Lords
    Introduced: 20 December 2004
    Second reading: 20 January 2005
    The regulation of charities is currently based in a 400 year-old statute.

    To be considered a charity organisation it will be necessary to fulfil certain charitable purposes such as:-
    -The prevention or relief of poverty
    -The advancement of education
    -The advancement of citizenship or community development
    -The advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation
    -The promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity

    The general functions of the Charity Commission are:-
    -To determine whether institutions are or are not charities
    -To Encourage and facilitate the better administration of charities
    -To identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities.

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