Royal Assent for Charities Act (NI) 2008
Many of the provisions of the Charities Act require secondary legislation and as such will be introduced in stages. The Department for Social Development anticipates that all parts of the Act should become fully operational by early 2011. It is expected that the Charity Commissioners will be appointed and the Charity Commission established in April 2009.
The first main business of the new Commission will be to consult on public benefit guidance and this exercise will probably take place in May or June 2009. It is envisaged that charities will not be required to register with the Charity Commission until the spring of 2010 with the first reporting requirements happening the following year in April 2011. The new rules for fundraising and public collections are not likely to take effect until 2011.
The Charities Implementation Team in the Department has set up a Charity Regulation Stakeholder Forum to consider the implications of the new Charities Act. NICVA is represented on this group and will keep the sector informed of any important issues that may emerge as well as raising any concerns to the Forum.
The Department has set up an interim website for the new Charity Commission for Northern Ireland which provides information on the Charities Act, the role of the new Commission and the timescales for implementation. The Department will update this website until the Commission is in place and is in a position to develop its own corporate image.
NICVA produced a Briefing paper on the Charities Act for our members.