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Charities regulator to be in operation by 2014

New Charities Regulatory Authority will be funded by charities by way of “modest annual registration fee”.

Charity collection at soccer match
Charity collection at soccer match
Image: Barrington Coombs/EMPICS Sport/Press Association

A NEW CHARITIES Regulatory Authority is to be set up with powers to carry out investigations and impose penalties for offences under the Charities Act 2009.

The Department of Justice says the new authority, which will come into operation in 2014, will increase public trust and confidence in the management of charitable organisations.

The authority will keep a register of charities for members of the public to consult if they have any questions or suspicions about an organisation. It will also provide guidelines and codes of conduct for the 8,200 organisations with charitable status.

Announcing the plans today, Justice Minister Alan Shatter said that a system of regulation will allow charities work more effectively and said that the cost of the regulation will be borne by the registered charities themselves by way of a “modest annual registration fee”:

We have consulted with the charity sector on this and the fee structure to be put in place will take account of the views expressed by charities through the consultation process. By adopting this approach, in which the regulation of the sector will in time become largely self-financing, I hope to be able to make appointments to the new authority later this year with a view to it coming into operation in 2014.

Sheila Nordon, Executive Director of charity support group the ICTR says that the sector is entirely welcoming of the new authority and feels that it is vital that all charities will be subject to the same rules. She added that the 2009 legislation  provided for a  statutory definition of  “charitable purpose” for the first time.

Nordon explains that although each charity will be required to report to the authority, proportionality in the proposals means administration will be less onerous on smaller volunteer organisations than larger charities. Despite this Nordon feels that all organisations have a responsibility to be run properly:

Every charity is publicly funded and as a result should be publicly accountable.

Read: ‘Significant’ fall in corporate donations while general public remains generous >

Column: Charities need our trust – so they require tighter regulation >

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Rónán Duffy

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