Charities: Regulation

House of Lords written question – answered on 4th May 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances it is possible to have an unregulated charity.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach Conservative

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, established under the Charities Act 2006. Similar charity regulators exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where charity law and regulation is devolved.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales does not register or regulate charitable organisations that are established outside of England and Wales, but can act to protect charitable funds raised in England and Wales, even where such funds are raised by overseas organisations.

There are also certain groups of exempt charities. These charities are not registered with the Charity Commission and are currently not subject to its regulatory jurisdiction. They were granted the exemption because they were considered to be adequately supervised by another body or authority. Exempt charities are those institutions that are comprised in Schedule 2 to the Charities Act 1993 (the 1993 Act). The Charities Act 2006 makes a number of changes to improve the regulation of exempt charities as charities, with groups of exempt charities either coming directly under the Charity Commission's regulatory jurisdiction, or having an existing regulator appointed as their principal regulator, to promote charity law compliance. These changes have been implemented for several groups of exempt charities, with further implementation due later this year and in 2012.

Certain other groups of charities are not required to register with the Charity Commission, but are subject to its regulatory jurisdiction. These include the large number of charities with an annual income of less than £5,000.

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