Government to legislate for changes to charity law, easing the burden on ILM members

ILM is delighted to learn that the government has today published a policy paper which should see changes to charity law that ILM has been calling for since 2015.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today published its response to the 2017 Law Commission report ‘Consultation on Technical Issues in Charity Law’ (click here to view the 2017 summary document). The response recommends that most of the findings of the original report be made law, including changes ILM asked for.

Specifically we called for:

  • Greater flexibility and reduced administrative burden in respect to Ex-Gratia Payments
  • Greater flexibility in respect to property sales.
  • Changes to the rules on mergers, reducing the need for shell charities.

From our conversation with DCMS, we understand that it hopes to implement the changes when Parliamentary time allows and that it will include our recommendations in full.

The recommendations have the support of the Charity Commission and have been developed in close consultation with the Charity Law Association. DCMS hopes that the new bill will reduce the administrative burden on charities and save them money, at a time when the sector is under pressure. Although this process has taken several years, we are very grateful to both our members for their time and patience, and to the Law Commission for putting forward our recommendations.

We believe that these changes will have a very positive impact on charities, saving them a great deal of time effort and money, and enabling
them to focus on helping the worthy causes they represent.

You can view ILM’s submission, which was made following a survey of its members, here.

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said:

“We are pleased the government will implement the vast majority of the 43 recommendations outlined by the Law Commission to charity law, which will maximise the efficient use of charitable funds and ensure the public has appropriate safeguards.

“It has been a tough time for charities during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially for small and unincorporated ones, which have had to continue operating despite a very challenging economic environment.

“We welcome the government’s plans to move ahead with these reforms to charity law, which will save time, costs and provide clarity around the more complex areas of the law. The changes will provide a more user-friendly environment for all charities, whatever their legal structure.

“However, what is still needed is greater clarity on issues relating to non-charities.”

This article was submitted to be published by the Institute of Legacy Management as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills & Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills & Probate.

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