Charities: Hizb ut-Tahrir
Margaret Moran (Luton South, Labour)
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many investigations under the Charities Act 2006 the Charity Commission has conducted relating to breaches of articles on the grounds of (a) political activity and (b) providing a platform to Hizb ut-Tahrir and associated groups; and how many (i) mosques and (ii) other charitable organisations have had their charitable status revoked following investigations of each type.
Angela Smith (Minister of State (Third Sector), Cabinet Office; Basildon, Labour)
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the Commission to reply.
Letter from Andrew Hind, dated
As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your written Parliamentary Question (318531) on how many investigations under the Charities Act the Charity Commission has conducted relating to breaches of articles on the grounds of (a) political activity and (b) providing a platform to Hizb ut-Tahrir and associated groups; and how many (i) mosques and (ii) other charitable organisations have had their charitable status revoked following investigations of each type.
Your question refers to 'investigations'. It may be helpful to provide some background information on the way in which we carry out our investigatory compliance work, which has changed significantly over recent years. Prior to our strategic review in 2005, our practice was to carry out all investigations as formal statutory inquiries under section 8 of the Charities Act 1993. We now carry out a wider range of compliance work dealing with problems in charities. This includes assessment cases, monitoring, non-statutory investigations that we call regulatory compliance cases, as well as section 8 statutory inquiries. We now reserve statutory inquiries only for the most serious cases of regulatory concern. Last year, for example, we conducted 1,504 assessment cases and 211 monitoring cases, and completed 167 regulatory compliance cases and 21 statutory inquiries.
The statistical information we hold for the purposes of our investigations is not designed to identify the sort of data you are looking for. However, I have looked at our statistics for both non-statutory investigations and statutory inquiries for the last three complete financial years going back to 2006-07 and can provide the following information.
In relation to (a), we have carried out 29 investigations regarding political activity since 2006-07, out a total of 736 investigations. These 29 investigations were to examine allegations or concerns about inappropriate political activity and campaigning by charities, or charities making political donations or giving support to a political party. I should point out that revocation of charitable status is not a legal remedy if a charity has broken political campaigning rules. Our role in these cases is to make good the breach (for example, to ensure inappropriate payment by a charity to a political party is repaid) and ensure steps are taken to prevent recurrence.
As you may know, charities can campaign and undertake political activity but cannot have political purposes. If we find that an organisation, although registered as a charity, does in fact have a political purpose, it cannot be a charity in law. In these cases, we would remove the organisation from the Register of Charities because it was never in fact a charity. Our records show that we have removed two charities from the Register on this basis: one in October 2001 and the other in July 2004. Regarding part (i) of your question, I can confirm that neither of these organisations were mosques.
In relation to (b), our statistical information does not allow us to readily identify on a historical basis cases regarding allegations that a charity may have provided a platform to Hizb ut-Tahrir. However, I can confirm that we have no current statutory or non-statutory investigations into such concerns.
I hope this is a helpful response to your question.