May 4th, 2017 / Insight posted in Articles

House of Lords Select Committee on Charities

At the end of March, the House of Lords Select Committee on Charities published its report ‘Stronger charities for a stronger society’, making 42 recommendations. These recommendations aim to shape the sector and help charities make more of an impact in the future.

These recommendations covered the following broad headings:

  • Trustees’ skills and training
  • Board diversity and turnover
  • Executive leadership
  • Payment of Trustees
  • Transparency, accountability and impact
  • Contracts and commissioning processes
  • Financial and planning challenges
  • Fundraising
  • Economic and tax planning
  • Infrastructure bodies
  • Role of volunteers
  • Charities and digital technology
  • Role of charity advocacy
  • Impact on charities of the UK’s exit from the European Union
  • Regulation of the charity sector

Many of the recommendations were not new or unexpected and were well trailed beforehand. However, a few are worth reiterating:

  • There was an emphasis on Trustee skills and training, as well as a call for training and development for leaders and staff working within charities.
  • Generally, the Committee believed that the voluntary principle of trusteeship was important and that Trustees should not receive payment for undertaking that role except in highly exceptional circumstances.
  • The Committee recommended that all charities should seek independent evaluation of their impact on their beneficiaries, and Public Sector Commissioners should assess these evaluations when awarding contracts.
  • The Committee recognised that the commissioning landscape is skewed against smaller charities and made recommendations to try and create a more level playing field.
  • While the Committee did not want to discourage people from establishing new charities, it did acknowledge that there is some overlapping work in the charity sector and encourages mergers and closures where appropriate.
  • The Committee has grave concerns about the Charity Commission proceeding with a proposal to charge charities without making it clear how the charge would benefit charities and strengthen the sector overall, nor how those additional revenues would be spent and what services would be delivered or enhanced in return.

The full report can be found on the Gov.UK website.

If you would like to discuss any of these recommendations in more detail and how they could affect your charity, please contact Nick Brooks on 020 7566 3708 or via email nbrooks@mks.co.uk.