Law firm Withers starts petition to reinstate old Charity Commission website

The legal firm, which created the petition on the 38 Degrees website, says the version is inferior to and less useful then the previous incarnation

Charity Commission's website
Charity Commission's website

A legal firm has launched an online petition that calls for the Charity Commission’s old website to be reinstated.

Withers, a legal practice that specialises in charity work, has placed a petition on the 38 Degrees campaigning website calling for a return of the old website.

The commission’s website was replaced in September 2014 as part of a central government initiative to unite all government services and information under the domain name.

Three years ago, William Shawcross, chair of the commission, told Third Sector that it planned to contest the decision to merge its website with the site.

Chris Priestley, a partner at Withers, said it had started the petition because it felt the new website was inferior to the commission’s old one. He said: "The old website, which was run and maintained by the commission, was a great source of information for charity law practitioners and trustees. It helped charities to help themselves by providing good guidance that was easily accessible.

"Now it’s part of the bigger website it is really difficult for people, especially trustees, to find information."

Priestley said it was increasingly important that charities and trustees were able to find information quickly given the negative press coverage of the sector and the political scrutiny that charities face.

The petition had attracted 42 signatures at midday today.

A spokeswoman for the commission said in a statement: "We are aware anecdotally that some people are dissatisfied with the commission’s transition to However, our statistics show that there has been a marked increase in views of key guidance. For example, in January 2014, prior to the transition, commission guidance was viewed 122,895 times, compared with 169,020 times in January 2015. We urge anyone who has difficulties finding information or using services on the commission pages on to give feedback through the form on each page."

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