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Charity Regulation in Northern Ireland Frances McCandless Chief Executive March 2013.

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Presentation on theme: "Charity Regulation in Northern Ireland Frances McCandless Chief Executive March 2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 Charity Regulation in Northern Ireland Frances McCandless Chief Executive March 2013

2 The story so far Minimal regulation under 1964 Charities Act lay with Department for Social Development (DSD) Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 Charity Commissioners appointed 2009 Small secretariat drawn from DSD Chief Executive appointed 2010 Problem with Public Benefit section of legislation identified and referred back to Minister 2010 Inquiry powers and other sections commenced February 2011 (over 200 concerns dealt with so far) Accompanying transitional provision Creation of ‘Deemed List’ Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 amended public benefit requirement

3 Step by Step Parts of the legislation currently in force include: The Commission The Charity Tribunal Definition of charity and public benefit Charity names provision Information (inquiry) powers Powers to make schemes and act for protection of charities Ex-gratia payments Power to determine membership

4 Step by Step Complexities of doing this: Legislation designed to have a register at its centre Complex legal workarounds required Sequencing of staff recruitment with relevant skills Constant rewriting of manuals and procedures as new sections commenced Public confusion?

5 Challenges Resources Started very small Communications Large and diverse sector and only deemed list to rely on Use of umbrella bodies General public Media Politicians Other parts of government Website has been crucial Managing expectations is a challenge Backlog of some issues waiting for regulator to assume powers

6 Speed of change Too fast or too slow? Some worried/anxious about burden of regulation Some impatient to be registered immediately Cultural change in how registration is viewed Will take years to complete mandatory registration and to get message out

7 The Register Centrality of register of charities to the legislation Main focus for public transparency/accountability Will use online register system from England and Wales Information will include: - Activities - Charitable objects - Area(s) of operation - Financial information and Trustees’ Annual Report - Trustee names Will be a requirement for applying for charitable tax exemptions from HMRC

8 Establishing a regulator A long and slow process Design of decision-making processes and manuals Governance structures Staff planning and recruitment Establishing IT systems and online registration Accountability as a public body Establishing working and formal relationships with other bodies such as tax authorities, police, audit bodies, safeguarding authority, Tribunal, public prosecution service Establishing credibility Learning on part of regulator – new legislation, few precedents to follow Learning on part of charities

9 Next steps Public benefit consultation underway until 6 May Plans for registration later in 2013 Charity accounts and monitoring consultation Ongoing compliance Commencement of other powers to include: - cy-près - charity land - mergers and closures - official custodian

10 For more information visit our website

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