Implementation of the new Charities Act 2016

For those of you who are members of the Charity Finance Group, and attended the recent regional members’ meetings in Leeds and Birmingham, you will have heard me or my colleague Adam Williams present a general charity law update.

One of the topics we covered was the new Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016. You will recall that this piece of legislation was originally designed to provide the Charity Commission with a range of new powers, but was later expanded to include fundraising and social investment provisions.

The legislation received Royal Assent on 16 March 2016, however, none of the major provisions came into effect on that date.

The Cabinet Office has released its implementation plan which can be found here.  Implementation has been split into three tranches:

  1. The first commencement order, which will bring into effect the majority of the new Charity Commission powers, and the social investment power, is expected this month.
  2. The second commencement order, which will bring into effect the new fundraising provisions, and the Charity Commission’s power to make official warnings, will be in October 2016.
  3. The third and final commencement order, which will bring into effect the automatic disqualification provisions, will be in April 2017.

This staggered approach is to provide time for:

  • the Charity Commission to consult and inform on how and when it will exercise its power to make official warnings; and
  • those charities with individuals who may be impacted by the automatic disqualification provisions to take appropriate steps.

Please note that the Charity Commission is currently consulting on its use of the official warning here.

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