- Legislation important to ensure public trust and confidence in the Charities Sector
The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D., has today published the General Scheme of the Charities (Amendment) Bill 2022.The Heads of Bill were approved by Government this week.
The Bill proposes to update existing charity law to improve the ability of the Charities Regulator to conduct its statutory functions and ensure greater public trust and confidence in the sector.
Announcing publication of the new legislation, Minister Humphreys said:
“Charities throughout the country do fantastic work every day but unfortunately there have been some high profile controversies in the sector in recent years.
“People want to know when they donate to Charity that their money is going where it is supposed to and that it is being managed properly and responsibly.
“This Bill strengthens the powers of the Charities Regulator to carry out its functions effectively so that the sector is well regulated and maintains full public trust and confidence.
“The Bill will now go for pre-legislative scrutiny and both Minister O’Brien and I look forward to working closely with our Oireachtas colleagues, hearing their views and working to progress this important legislation as soon as possible.”
The amendments proposed will facilitate the introduction of much needed financial regulations for the sector, introducing greater transparency in the way charities report.
Other key elements of the Bill include:
– New financial thresholds to ensure more appropriate reporting requirements reflective of a charity’s size;
– Clarification on the general duties of trustees;
– Strengthening the Regulator’s powers in relation to the protection of charitable organisations;
– The establishment of ‘the advancement of human rights’ as a recognised charitable purpose.
Also commenting on the publication, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD stated:
“Proper regulation and guidance to the charities sector, operated independently through the Charities Regulator, protects the sector and gives our citizens the confidence needed to continue to give generously to many worthy charitable causes.
“It is important that we strike the right balance between necessary regulation and proportionate governance, ensuring that a reasonable and fair approach is at its core.
“I am particularly pleased that this Bill makes provision for ‘the advancement of human rights’ as a recognised charitable purpose – this provision will have a significant positive impact on charities working on human rights’ issues.”
The Heads of Bill will now go to the Joint Committee on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands for scrutiny.
The General Scheme is being published today on the website of the Department of Rural and Community Development and is available at: www.gov.ie/en/publication/0dfac-general-scheme-charities-amendment-bill-2022/