News special: Suzi Leather - What's in Leather's in-tray? Someadvice from the sector

BELINDA MCKENZIE, co-ordinator, Association for Charities

"We welcome Dame Suzi's appointment and look forward to working with her to help ensure the regulation of charities is proportionate and fair.

This will require a firm rein to be kept on the investigations division, which has at times over-applied commission powers and caused damage to charities.

"Dame Suzi's involvement to date with consumers as well as children and health issues are positive indicators in this regard. We trust she continues the work of her predecessor in modernising the sector and producing good guidance materials, as well as improving the commission's internal procedures."

CLARE BROWN, chief executive, Infertility Network UK

"We had been knocking on the door of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority since it was formed, telling it to involve patients in all aspects of its work. It was not until Suzi became chair that the door was opened.

"In fact, a colleague and I had a meeting with Suzi on her very first day. From then on, the views of the patients have been sought at every opportunity. We are extremely sorry to see her go, not just for involving the patients but also because it is obvious that she cares. Our loss is the Charity Commission's gain. I hope the new HFEA chair is as patient-focused as Suzi."

STEPHEN LLOYD, head of charity and social enterprise, Bates Wells & Braithwaite

"I am glad I am not the chair of the Charity Commission. Why? Because it's a very difficult job to do.

"My advice to Suzi Leather is to keep her nerve and not let the occasional tabloid headline drive her into adopting bureaucratic solutions.

"The voluntary sector is gloriously diverse, like a garden full of blooms in June. She must not take out the clippers, but let the flowers bloom. Face down the hypocrites who plead for systems to ensure that 'it'll never happen again' one day, and rail against Government intervention the next. Good luck to her."

KEVIN CURLEY, chief executive, Navca

"Suzi must lead a commission that will probe the status of the new public service delivery charities. These are set up by local authorities faced with crumbling libraries and sports centres. We want Suzi to make sure that no new charity is allowed to register unless it can show that its trustees are truly independent of the body whose assets it inherits. This should be a rigorous test.

"Navca members have always valued the commission's advice and its role in promoting good practice. But, please, no more 'naming and shaming' groups that don't get their accounts in on time. Let's work together to drive up good practice - not drive trustees into hiding."

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