Charities Bill Coalition relaunches for Act

The Charities Bill Coalition, set up in February 2003 by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) to lobby the Government for a charities bill, is relaunching as the Coalition for a Charities Act (CCA) in a bid to ensure the imminent Charities Bill is made law before the next general election.

The CCA, whose 17 members include Amnesty International, Help the Aged and the NSPCC, intends to campaign vigorously for a charities act that spells out a clearer role for the Charities Commission, an independent appeals tribunal and a universal public benefit trust.

This will require any organisation wishing to qualify for charitable status to show its practices fall within a set measure of 12 charitable purposes and to demonstrate that it was established for public benefit.

The draft Charities Bill is due to be published at the end of this month and will then be scrutinised by a parliamentary select committee, which will report back on its findings by 30 September.

The CCA plans to submit written evidence to the committee and government ministers arguing for the Bill to be enshrined in law during the next parliamentary year.

‘The old coalition agreed in principle to the reform of charity law,’ said NCVO chief executive Stuart Etherington.

‘Now, at this crucial stage in the political process, we have regrouped to ensure that we end up with the legislation we have been arguing for all along,’ he added.

Another 13 original members of the Charities Bill Coalition are expected to sign up to the CCA shortly.

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