The Charities (NI) Order 2007 - Background Information
The Charities (NI) Order 2007 which was laid before parliament in January will not continue its passage through Westminster as planned.
Instead, with the restoration of Devolution on 8 May 2007, the new Minister will consider the charities legislation for referral to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
If the legislation had been passed through Westminster the new Charity Commission would have been established by the end of Summer 2007 and the first registrations taken by the end of December 2007. It is now anticipated that the legislation will be delayed by approximately one year and consequently the proposed timetable for the Charity Commission and the implementation of the other provisions in the Draft Order will also be delayed by at least one year.
Some of the key issues that emerged during the consultation period on the draft Charities (NI) Order 2006 influenced change on the Order that was laid before parliament, most notably, the accounting and audit thresholds. NICVA welcomes the Department’s decision to bring the accounting thresholds and audit requirements in line with the rest of the UK which is a considerable change from the draft Order which was consulted on.
NICVA, however, was concerned that the Charities (NI) Order 2007 listed a ‘Fellow’ instead of ‘Full Member’ of the Association of Independent Examiners (ACIE) as a type of prescribed person permitted to carry out a qualified independent examination. The Department has accepted that this is a valid point and has stated that it will amend Article 68.
There were only two other substantial changes from the draft Charities Order 2006 that was consulted on. Firstly, a requirement has been added that a permit must be sought for a house-to-house collection to be carried out. Secondly, the advancement of sport as a charitable purpose now includes sports or games which promote health by involving mental skill and not just physical skill or exertion.
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