Government publishes timetable for implementation of Charity Commission’s new powers

Following Ian Burman’s presentation on the new Charities (Protection & Social Investment) Act 2016 at the More London Charity Forum’s inaugural event in March 2016, we thought you would be interested to know that the government has now published a provisional timetable explaining when the different sections of the new Charities Act will take effect.

The Act received the Royal Assent on 16 March 2016, although the majority of its provisions will be brought into force by commencement orders made by the Minister.  It is currently envisaged that implementation will be broken down into three separate stages with most of the legislation coming into effect in July and October 2016 and the provisions in respect of the power to disqualify trustees or senior management coming into effect in April 2017.  These dates are only indicative at this stage and the proposed timetable will be updated to reflect any changes.

The implementation of the new Charities Act will be led by the Office for Civil Society and Innovation, who will work closely with the Charity Commission.  Existing Charity Commission guidance may need to be updated in light of the new provisions and other provisions may require the Commission to consult and prepare new guidance. 

By way of example, the Commission launched a consultation on 23 May 2016 which will last three months, about the use of its powers to disqualify individuals from holding senior management functions and being trustees.  It intends to seek views on an updated version of the previous year’s policy document which sets out how the Commission intends to use the power and the factors that will affect the length of the disqualification.  

In addition, the Commission will also be consulting on the use of its official warning power – it is intended that this power will be implemented in October 2016 and the Commission has stated that the consultation is likely to start in late June 2016.

The Commission has also announced it will be updating its investment guidance in time for the introduction in July of the power to make social investments set out in section 15 of the new Act and will be issuing an updated version of its fundraising and accountancy guidance given the introduction of changes to fundraising agreements, due to be introduced in October 2016.

The Commission has responded positively to the proposed timetable stating that it gives charities and trustees sufficient time to take any action required as a result of the new provisions and also enables the Commission to plan and prepare to use its new powers.

For further information, we have included links to the document setting out the provisional timetable as well as a blog post published by the Commission about how the new Act will affect charities.