Campaign rules to be rewritten

The Charity Commission's board is expected this morning to approve proposals to rewrite the regulator's guidance on campaigning to clear up confusion over political lobbying.

"Charities are free to undertake campaigning, including broadly political - although not party political - activities, in pursuit of their charitable purposes, even where this may mean devoting all of their income to doing so," the proposals read.

The commission published a Q&A on campaigning in April, emphasising that charities were free to engage in political campaigning (Third Sector Online, 3 April).

But after continued criticism that the existing guidance was not clear enough, and the publication of recommendations from the Advisory Group on Campaigning and the Voluntary Sector, later endorsed by the Government, the commission is revisiting its guidance.

"We recognise that our policy could be clearer and more positive," said Sarah Atkinson, head of corporate affairs at the commission. "This is an area where charities are censoring themselves more than they should be."

Draft guidance is expected to be ready for the next board meeting in November, when the board will decide whether to approve it for immediate publication or to submit it for consultation.

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