Ethical belief consultation out this week

The Charity Commission will this week launch a consultation on draft supplementary guidance it has produced on public benefit and charities that advance moral or ethical belief systems.

The document, Public Benefit and the Advancement of Moral or Ethical Belief Systems, is aimed at non-religious charities such as humanist and rationalist charities.

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the commission, said: "Non-religious belief systems can be charitable because they advance other aims regarded in law as charitable, such as the moral or spiritual welfare of the community, education or health. We hope this further consultation will be as fruitful as previous ones and we invite responses from all interested groups."

The consultation comes after similar exercises on public benefit guidance for fee-charging charities, those that relieve poverty and those that advance education or religion, all of which closed earlier this summer.

The Charities Act 2006 introduced the requirement for all charities to report on the public benefit they provide. General guidance on public benefit was published by the commission in January.

The consultation opens on Thursday and the deadline for responses is 5 January 2009. The consultation documents will be available on the commission's website.

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