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Charity-reducing cost and control

Comment 2nd July 2010

The new charities act has changed the role of the charity commissioners. Under the old act, the commissioners prevented abuse and ensured that charities stuck to doing what they were set up to do. The new act requires the commissioners to interfere in how charities are run. The problem with this is essentially one of control- surely the point of a vibrant third sector is so that it will do things differenently from government? Imposing targets and social policy aims on charities will merely make them an extension of government. It also adds to the costs and complexity of running a charity. Why not simply repeal the new act?

Why does this matter?

As the state contracts through spending cuts, the third sector will have to step in. Obstacles that prevent charities from working, or which impose lenghty and time consuming compliance work on volunteers will make volunteering and giving to charity less interesting. Do people really want to give up their Saturdays to fill in a form, or would they prefer to be fundraising or delivering the charity's goals.

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