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

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

MAIN PROVISIONS
BILL'S PROGRESS 2005
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
COMMONS:
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

    BACKGROUND
    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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