Advisory group to switch tack on campaigning law

The Advisory Group on Campaigning and the Voluntary Sector is seeking case studies from charities that have encountered difficulties caused by the current campaigning rules.

The coalition, which last month declared its intention to lobby for an amendment to the Charities Act 2006, now believes that a legislative change is unlikely in the foreseeable future and is focusing on getting the rules on campaigning clarified.

The group is aiming to make its argument by using case studies of organisations that have either encountered difficulties or do not fit the stereotype of a campaigning organisation.

It has also met with the Charity Commission in an attempt to secure greater clarification ahead of the publication this month of a new version of CC9, the regulator's guidance on how much campaigning charities can do without breaching the law.

"The meeting with the commission was very positive, and we raised a number of concerns that we hope will be reflected in the new draft of CC9," said Brian Lamb, director of communications at the RNID and a member of the coalition.

"It is possible that a legislative amendment could be considered, but that is a long way from being introduced. We want to see where we can get with the Charity Commission guidance."

The coalition said the rule that campaigning must be an ancillary part of a charity's activities tended to hit smaller charities hardest.

Claire McMaster, a coalition member and chief executive of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation, which provides awards and training for campaigners, said: "We are proposing to create a level playing field for smaller organisations to be able to campaign as freely as larger organisations."

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