Charity Commission to challenge decision to merge its website into central government web portal

By Stephen Cook, Third Sector Online, 5 November 2012

William Shawcross, the new chair of the regulator, says he will ask the Cabinet Office to think again

The Charity Commission is planning to contest a decision by a Cabinet Office that the commission website must be merged into the Inside Government section of, the new single web portal for central government.

The commission is a non-ministerial government department, but it reports directly to Parliament and the law says it should not be under government control except for the setting of its budget.

The previous chair of the commission, Dame Suzi Leather, warned in the summer that if the move went ahead "people would perceive us to be part of government and not independent at all." But the bid for exemption was turned down.

Now the new chair of the commission, William Shawcross, is planning to take up the issue with the Cabinet Office. "We’re going to ask again," he told Third Sector. "If this goes ahead it will look confusing to people."

A spokeswoman for the commission added: "The key issue in our request for an exemption was the potential impact on the commission's independence as a fundamental principle, as set out in legislation."

A message on says the merger of all government websites into its Inside Government section "will be starting soon and finishing in 2014."

It says the intention of is to reduce cost and complexity by creating "a single government brand to replace the myriad of different department and agency logos."

The first full interview with Shawcross will be published in tomorrow’s Third Sector magazine and on

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