Lord Hodgson 'satisfied' with government's response to his Charities Act review

By Andy Ricketts, Third Sector Online, 5 December 2012

Lord Hodgson

Lord Hodgson

Peer says he expected strong opposition to trustee payment, the only one of 11 major recommendations to be rejected

Lord Hodgson has declared himself satisfied with the government’s interim response to his review of the Charities Act 2006.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, wrote to Hodgson yesterday advising him of the government’s position on the major proposals contained in Hodgson’s review, which was published in July.

Hurd said the government would not pursue Hodgson’s proposal that charities with annual incomes of more than £1m should be able to pay their trustees without the Charity Commission’s consent, but was broadly supportive of most of the other measures.

Hurd used a traffic light system to grade the proposals according to how likely they were to be adopted and gave 10 of the 11 green or amber lights, but said several would need more thought before they were adopted.

These included the proposal to allow the Charity Commission to charge charities for its services and a suggestion to raise the income threshold for mandatory registration with the commission from £5,000 a year to £25,000. 

Hodgson told Third Sector that he was not too disappointed that the trustee payment proposal had been rejected. "I am quite cool on that," he said. "If they have considered the major areas and only one has a red light against it, you can’t say fairer than that." 

He said he was aware that the debate about trustee payment would be strongly fought. "If one thing has to be sacrificed to get the others through, then I do not mind sacrificing that," he said.

Hodgson said he was pleased progress had already been made on some of the major recommendations in his report without government intervention, such as the regulation of fundraising.

He said he was not disappointed that the government had not made firm decisions on several of the major areas, including the registration threshold and enabling the Charity Commission to charge for some of its services, because it wanted to take more time to consider the options.

Hodgson pointed out that the Public Administration Select Committee would soon be producing its report on charitable regulation, which the government would want to consider as part of its response, and that he only completed his report in July.

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