Message and Information Safety Support denied charitable status after review

Charity Commission says the organisation, set up to help the police and government to prevent crime, has not demonstrated that its objects are exclusively charitable

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has refused charitable status to an organisation that would provide message and information systems, assist in fundraising and offer financial support to other charities.

In assessing the original application, the regulator said it was not satisfied that Message and Information Safety Support was established for exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit.

The organisation, which was not in operation at the time of its application, requested a review. But the reviewer’s decision,  published on the Charity Commission website last month, upheld the regulator’s original assessment.

The application said that the organisation’s objects would include the provision of message and information systems, thereby assisting the police, national and local government and other public services in the prevention of crime.

Its said its second object would be to assist in fundraising and to offer financial support to other charities, in particular community-based youth projects.

The reviewer concluded that although the prevention of crime was capable of being charitable and the provision of message and information systems might be a means to further the prevention of crime, the applicants "did not demonstrate the link between the means and the furtherance of that purpose".

The final decision also noted that assisting charities with their fundraising was not in itself a charitable purpose and that this could be carried out as a commercial activity. "The provision of support to community-based projects may be a means to further charitable purposes but is not a charitable purpose in itself," it said.

During the review, the trustees of Message and Information Safety Support suggested revised purposes "to offer free access to information by establishing hotspots and to make space available to charities, organisations, clubs, groups and companies". But the commission ruled that these additional purposes did not express exclusively charitable purposes.

"It was not evident that Message and Information Safety Support is established for the public benefit and that any private benefit is incidental to furthering exclusively charitable purposes," the decision says.

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