Documents to download

The bill would make a number of technical changes to charities law. The Law Commission published its report recommending changes to charities law in 2017. It said that uncertainties in the law and unnecessary regulation can disrupt charities’ activities, discourage participation and force charities to obtain expensive legal advice. It hoped its recommendations would simplify the regulation of charities, while still maintaining important safeguards for how they are run.

The Government welcomed the Law Commission’s report and accepted 36 out of the 43 recommendations. It agreed that, although the changes could seem highly technical, they would make it simpler and easier for charities to respond to opportunities to achieve their purposes. The rejected proposals included a review of the basis to challenge Charity Commission decisions and a proposal to abolish the requirement for charities to advertise proposed disposals of designated land.

The bill includes changes to simplify the law around: 

  • changes to a charity’s governing documents;
  • payments to trustees in certain circumstances for goods and services provided;
  • using funds for ex gratia payments or using funds obtained in connection to specific fundraising campaigns for other purposes (cy-près powers);
  • utilising permanent endowments; and
  • disposals of charity land.

Labour has indicated its support for the bill. The Law Commission also said that the Law Commission proposals had received support from the Charity Commission and the charity sector itself. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations has recently welcomed the bill, stating that it is a positive step to simplify the law.

This briefing was updated on 29 June 2021 to include the date it is scheduled to be considered in second reading committee in the House of Lords.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • Commission on Young Lives: National plan for vulnerable young people

    The Commission on Young Lives was an independent group formed to design a new national system to prevent crisis in vulnerable young people and to boost their life chances and educational prospects. The commission published a report in November 2022 which made recommendations to government, local authorities, police and others to tackle the “deep-rooted” problems facing vulnerable youths. The commission’s “centrepiece recommendation” was for a “sure start plus for teenagers” network of intervention and support.

    Commission on Young Lives: National plan for vulnerable young people
  • Arrival of the Empire Windrush: Celebrating the 75th anniversary

    National Windrush Day on 22 June 2023 will mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the passengers of the Empire Windrush to the UK. The day celebrates the contribution and achievements of the Windrush generation and their descendants. This briefing provides background information for a debate in the House of Lords on the government’s plans to mark this celebration.

    Arrival of the Empire Windrush: Celebrating the 75th anniversary