New Clause 13

Charities Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 13 July 2006.

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Exercise of information powers

‘Before section 8 of the 1993 Act insert—

“Z8 Exercise of information powers

In undertaking any action under sections 19, 20 or 26, the Commission shall have regard to—

(a) the need to ensure that the burden on staff or volunteers of the charity is proportionate to the objectives of the action taken or proposed;

(b) the need to ensure that its costs are proportionate to the objectives of the action taken or proposed; and

(c) the extent to which the charity depends on regular donations from members of the public.”.’.—[Mr. Turner.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

This is another new clause to which the Cheltenham principle may be attributed, and I want to be sure of whether that is the case. I draw the Minister’s attention to paragraph (c) in particular. It is relevant to consider whether charities have close relations with members of the public, as do those that raise funds.

Photo of Ed Miliband Ed Miliband Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

The Committee will recall that, last week, we spent some time discussing the duty on the Charity Commission to act proportionately. The Charity Commission has that duty, and that of acting reasonably. We have strengthened that by giving the commission a specific duty to have regard for the principles of best regulatory practice. Its regulatory activities should be proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted only at cases for which they are needed.

That duty applies to all the commission’s functions, including those specified in the new clause. In reaching its decisions in respect of the exercise of its powers, the commission will take all relevant matters into account. On that basis, the commission will be required to follow best regulatory practice. I do not see the need for additional requirements, which would add confusion, not clarity. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the motion.

Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Conservative, Isle of Wight

The Parliamentary Secretary has confirmed that paragraph (c) is covered. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.