Government urged to retain national exemption orders

Wendy Mitchell of the Charity Retail Association is among those criticising Lord Hodgson's proposal to scrap them

Wendy Mitchell
Wendy Mitchell

The Charity Retail Association and the Institute of Fundraising have called on the government to reject Lord Hodgson’s proposal to abolish national exemption orders.

In their responses to the Cabinet Office consultation on reducing bureaucracy for charities – the Red Tape Challenge on Civil Society, which closed today – both the CRA and the IoF criticise the proposal in Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006.

Hodgson said that the orders, which allow large charities to make frequent house-to-house collections without seeking licences repeatedly, should be abolished on the grounds of fairness to smaller charities.

But the CRA’s consultation response says that removing NEOs would make it harder for larger, national charities to operate house-to-house collections for clothing and would not alleviate the bureaucratic burden on smaller charities that apply for licences.

It calls on the Office for Civil Society to reject the proposal and focus on how to simplify the system for smaller organisations.

Wendy Mitchell, head of policy and public affairs at the CRA, told Third Sector: "The abolition of NEOs, coupled with the lack of concrete proposals to make life easier for charities applying for licences, goes against the spirit of the Red Tape Challenge. We hope the review of the act will result in the government taking forward concerted action to reduce unnecessary red tape in house-to-house clothing collections."

Both the CRA and the IoF point out in their responses that private companies collecting clothing to sell abroad for profit are not covered by any regulatory regime.

The IoF’s response also criticises the additional wording now needed on Gift Aid declarations as "excessive and risk-averse to the extreme" and says it puts off donors. Charities will have to comply by the end of the year with a requirement to ask donors to confirm that they will pay enough tax to cover all donations they intend to make in a year.

It says that the existing proposals for the new Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme include "significant complexity and barriers to participation".

The IoF says that there should be a fundamental restructure of payroll giving and criticises the expense and bureaucracy involved in charity raffles.

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