NICVA responds to Charities Bill
The response welcomes the proposed new wording on public benefit which is intended to rectify Section 3 of the Charities Act (NI) 2008 as it may potentially create problems in its current form. The proposed new wording is the same as that found in charity legislation in England and Wales, which places the principal emphasis on the public benefit requirement under charitable purpose as opposed to including a prescribed charity test in legislation which is found in Scottish charity legislation.
The proposed amendment will not affect the requirement in the Act that no particular purpose should be presumed to be for the public benefit. There will be no presumption of public benefit for certain types of charity as had been initially considered as a potential option for this Bill.
It is anticipated that the new amended legislation will be in place in the autumn. The Charity Commission will then be in a position to issue new draft guidance which is to be consulted upon, hopefully early next year. When completely resolved, the Register of Charities can then be established.
More information can be found in our response to the Committee which is available to download below.