Charity Commission says Upper Tribunal ruling has not 'overturned' its guidance

By Stephen Cook, Third Sector Online, 14 October 2011

Charity Commission

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has released a statement to counter claims by the Independent Schools Council that its guidance on fee-charging schools has been overturned

The Charity Commission has hit back at the Independent Schools Council in the wake of the Upper Tribunal decision today on public benefit provided by fee-charging schools.

The ISC claimed that the decision had "overturned" the commission’s guidance on the subject, put trustees firmly back in the driving seat and broken the link between bursaries and public benefit.

This prompted the commission to issue a statement saying the guidance had been neither overturned nor quashed, although some of it would be amended in the light of the decision.

The guidance had always emphasised the primary responsibility of trustees in decisions about public benefit, the statement said, and the commission had never said that fee-charging schools must provide bursaries to meet the public benefit requirement.

The statement also took issue with the ISC’s claim that the ruling had overturned a benchmark for public benefit. The commission had never set a benchmark of any kind, it said.

And it refuted the ISC’s statement that the ruling took public benefit decisions away from the commission."The commission, as regulator of charities, has a clear role in relation to public benefit and could still intervene if a charity was found not to be providing more than a tokenistic benefit to the poor," it said.

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