Commission unfazed by anti-terrorism proposals

Charity Commission chief executive Andrew Hind says he has no concerns about a government consultation document that tells the regulator to boost its investigative capacity to protect the sector from terrorist abuse.

Andrew Hind
Andrew Hind

The joint Home Office and Treasury Review of Safeguards to Protect the Charity Sector from the Threat of Terrorist Abuse says the commission should consider "building clearer intelligence links into its casework" (Third Sector Daily, 11 May 2007).

Hind said: "The report is peppered with the implication that the commission's independence is not being affected. It emphasises that the commission is a world leader when it comes to regulation. The Government has no interest in changing that."

He added that the commission already worked with intelligence agencies. "We have a small number of people who are security-cleared and can participate with government on matters that have sensitive information," he said.

But he admitted that overseas aid groups, which are at particular risk of forming inadvertent terrorist links, might have to do more to check out local partners.

Martin Hearson, sector advocacy officer at international aid network Bond, warned: "There's a risk charities will feel obliged to spend too much time and money on the requirements suggested in the report."

Helen Donohoe, head of campaigns and communication at the NCVO, accused the Government of fuelling mistrust of charities. "It would be great if the commission had more resources, but we want more of the same - not a load of extra responsibilities," she said.

Charities have until 2 August to respond. The commission hopes to publish a new terrorism strategy in the autumn.

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