Acevo's Asheem Singh among charity leaders concerned about charging for regulation

Earlier this week, Charity Commission chair William Shawcross said he was talking to government about seeking extra funding from charities

Asheem Singh
Asheem Singh

Charity leaders have criticised the proposal for charities to contribute to the costs of the Charity Commission.

Speaking at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering in parliament on Wednesday, William Shawcross, chair of the commission, said he was in talks with the government to allow the regulator to seek extra funding from charities, subject to the sector’s agreement, to top up the £20m a year the regulator receives from the Treasury.

Shawcross said he hoped the commission would raise £5m over the next two years by charging the sector for its services and added that it would launch a consultation on the issue soon.

Shawcross said in September last year that he believed it was "inevitable" that charities would be charged for regulation, but his comments drew criticism from a number of sector organisations, including Navca and the Directory of Social Change.

Today, the charity leaders body Acevo expressed concern at Shawcross’s latest comments, saying it believed it was wrong for charitable donations to be spent on regulation.

In a statement, Acevo said that previous sector polls had indicated that 75 per cent of charity leaders believed that charging charities would be a negative development that would threaten the independence of the regulator. It added that a poll conducted by the Charity Commission last year found that 68 per cent of charities were opposed to any form of charging to pay for the Charity Commission.

Asheem Singh, interim chief executive of Acevo, said in a statement: "The Charity Commission, despite overwhelming, principled opposition, seems determined to cannibalise further the charitable donations of the British people and ensure that as little as possible goes to the front line.

"The last thing that the public wants is for their hard-earned donations to be spent on more administrative staff on civil service salaries working for Mr William Shawcross.

"People do not give generously to charity in order to fund work that should properly be paid for by government."

Singh said that the Charity Commission should focus on "rebuilding its relationships and trust with the sector", rather than trying to charge charities for the support and guidance they needed to help their beneficiaries.

In a forum post underneath yesterday’s story, Martin Edwards, chief executive of Julia’s House, a children’s hospice based in Poole, Dorset, expressed concern about paying for charity regulation. "So a medium-sized care charity would be paying fees to the Care Quality Commission for being inspected and regulated as a care service, to the Fundraising Regulator to ensure we don't behave like a few large charities have, to the Information Commissioner's Office for the regulation of data, and to the Charity Commission for the privilege of being a charity of a certain size. In what sense is enterprise being encouraged?"

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