This law is about making sure all charities here meet the highest standards and are well run. It is also about ensuring that the public has confidence in the valuable work charities are doing for vulnerable and disadvantaged groups. NICVA has have not had an opportunity to study the details but it backs the idea of a charities commission, a compulsory register of charities and clear annual accounts.
There are a few bogus charities in Northern Ireland and they could damage the good name of the thousands of good ones that are working hard to make Northern Ireland a better place, Seamas McAleavey, CEO of NICVA said. Announcing the consultation, David Hanson said:
The consultation period will run for 12 weeks. The Department for Social Development, which has policy responsibility for charities, will then seek to present their proposed legislation to parliament in late autumn. The legislation should be in place by late spring of 2007. Whilst this will most obviously impact on charities, others who will have an interest include churches, sports groups, arts bodies and indeed the general public of Northern Ireland, who give so generously to all the charitable appeals. I would urge you to consider the proposals and offer your views.”
If all goes well, we should see a Charities Commission and Register of Charities in Northern Ireland, and not a moment before time.