Legal Update: Timeshare Association helpline registered as charity

Plus: Charity Commission upholds decision not to register Independent Press Regulation Trust, the trustee declaration form is compulsory and the draft Protection of Charities Bill has been published, writes Adrian Pashley

Legal update
Legal update

Helpline registered

The Charity Commission has registered the Timeshare Association (Timeshare Owners and Committees) Consumer Helpline as a charity. The helpline was formerly operated by the Tatoc Consumer Association. The commission refused to register the association as a charity because it was not exclusively charitable, but said it had the potential to be so. An application for registration from a separate organisation that was then set up to run the helpline was initially refused over concerns that it had not been set up for charitable purposes. After amending its objects and submitting additional information to the commission, the helpline was accepted for registration on review.

Press body registration

The commission has upheld its refusal to register as a charity the Independent Press Regulation Trust, which intends to support an as-yet unestablished press regulatory body to be set up by the non-charitable Impress Project. It concluded that the IPRT was not established for exclusively charitable purposes.

However, it said its objects were analogous to recognised charitable purposes, and accepted that there might be public benefit in promoting ethical standards and compliance with the law in the media industry. It also accepted that the body might be capable of registration as a charity. It remains to be seen whether the IPRT seeks to appeal against the decision or submits a new application for charitable status once the regulator that it is intended to support is established.

The decision illustrates the commission's approach to assessing whether novel purposes that are not clearly charitable might be accepted as such if they can be shown to correspond to recognised charitable purposes.

Trustee declaration form

In autumn's CC News (issue 48), the Charity Commission announced that it was now compulsory to use its updated trustee eligibility and responsibility declaration form when applying to register as a charity, and it would no longer accept any previous versions of the declaration form. The new version of the form was published in June.

Draft bill published

The draft Protection of Charities Bill was published on 22 October, together with explanatory notes, impact assessment and a summary of consultation responses. It aims to protect charities better in England and Wales from individuals who are unfit to be trustees and to give the Charity Commission strengthened powers to tackle abuse. It includes many, but not all, of the proposals on which the government consulted earlier this year. As the provisions in the draft bill will amend or add to existing provisions in the Charities Act 2011, the government has published a proposed version of that act, available on legislation.gov.uk.

This column is written by Adrian Pashley, charities editor at Thomson Reuters, Practical Law, on behalf of the Charity Law Association

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