Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, has announced plans to establish an Independent Charities Regulator under the terms of the 2009 Charities Act. The new authority is set to come into operation in 2014.
The outcome of a public consultation on charities regulation, carried out by the Department of Justice and Equality earlier this year, is also being published following the announcement.
Among its functions, the new Charities Regulatory Authority will:
- increase public trust and confidence in the management and administration of charitable trusts and charitable organisations;
- promote compliance by charity trustees with their duties in the control and management of charitable trusts and charitable organisations;
- promote the effective use of the property of charitable trusts or charitable organisations;
- ensure the accountability of charitable organisations;
- promote understanding of the requirement that charitable purposes confer a public benefit;
- establish and maintain a register of charitable organisations;
- ensure and monitor compliance by charitable organisations with this Act;
- carry out investigations in accordance with this Act;
- encourage and facilitate the better administration and management of charitable organisations by the provision of information or advice, including in particular by way of issuing guidelines, codes of conduct, and mode constitutional documents;
Minister Shatter said: “Charities play a vitally important role in our economy and society. It is important that we put in place a system of regulation that supports them in playing that role as effectively as possible, and enhances the public trust and confidence on which all charities depend”.
With regard to the financing of the new Regulatory Authority, he added: “It is intended that registered charities themselves will be asked to meet some of the cost of their regulation through payment of a modest annual registration fee… 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”.
The Minister expressed his thanks to all those who made submissions to the public consultation and said that “a consultative approach” would continue to be adopted during the introduction of the new regulatory requirements.