Minister makes decision for a Charities (Amendment) Bill

2 Feb 2012 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 13 Aug 2014

NICVA welcomes the Minister for Social Development's decision that all charities in Northern Ireland will be required to demonstrate that they are established for the benefit of the public.

Department officials outlined the Minister’s preferred option in a briefing to the Committee for Social Development on 2 February at Stormont in which he believes that he is now satisfied that this course of action is in the best interests for all charities.    

The Committee for Social Development welcomed the Minister’s decision and congratulated the work of the Charity Commission to date. A Charities (Amendment) Bill will now be prepared for consideration by the Committee for Social Development and hopefully introduced to the Assembly before the summer recess. 

Denise McCann, NICVA's Governance and Charity Advice Manager, commented:

“This is a very positive development. NICVA has always believed that all charities should be treated fairly and equally. We are delighted that the Minister has decided not to change the essence of the public benefit test requirement, thus providing a framework whereby all charities in Northern Ireland will have to demonstrate how they fulfil the public benefit test.”

Register of charities

Once royal assent has been granted, the Charity Commission can then begin a public consultation on its guidance for the public benefit test, perhaps early next year. This could see the register of charities being established before the summer of next year. 

For more detailed information on the passage of this reform, please see NICVA’s dedicated charity law reform page.

by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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