The charity which is chaired by Sir Stuart Etherington – author of the controversial Fundraising for the Future report – has lambasted plans to give the Charity Commission greater powers, warning the whole sector could be put at risk.
In a briefing published before the second reading of the Charity’s Bill in the House of Commons, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) warns that the Commission must first win the trust of the sector if it is to be awarded more powers.
The extra measures include a remit to issue official warnings to charities, to disqualify those with criminal records relating to sexual and terrorism offences from serving as trustees and to direct a charity to be wound up after an investigation.
The NCVO briefing says it “firmly believes in the importance of a competent and adequately resourced regulator, able to act effectively and fairly with the appropriate powers”, but adds: “any additional power granted to the commission requires a relationship of trust with the sector it regulates.
“Any perception of the Commission acting in a way that is not in pursuance of its duty to protect the public interest in charities, could have a detrimental impact on both the effectiveness of the powers and levels of public trust and confidence in charities.”
The NCVO says it has “serious concerns” around the lack of a right to appeal against official warnings, due to potential loss of funding a warning could cause by attracting bad publicity and the lack of a notice period for trustees to make representations as to why a warning should not be publicised.
“Given the criticism directed at the commission that in the past it has failed to make sufficient use of its existing powers, it will have a responsibility to demonstrate that the new powers conferred are improving its regulatory performance.”
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