‘Good’ charity charity can now offer its donors ‘special access’
Posted On July 27, 2021
Good charities are increasingly offering “special access” to their donors.
As a result, the government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is introducing “special use” rules that allow charities to “open” their donors’ accounts and make the donations available to other organisations.
A number of charities, including the National Health Service and the National Lottery, have already agreed to sign up to the scheme, and the Treasury has also announced it is looking at new restrictions on charities.
Here are some of the new restrictions.
Access to “special uses” The new rules apply to charities with an annual turnover of more than £100m, but they apply to organisations whose turnover exceeds £1bn, according to the Government.
They also apply to a charity’s directors and officers, as well as the charitable directors and managers who run the charity.
“If a charity is able to use these powers, it is only because of the special use access they have granted the charity,” said Matthew Richardson, the director of communications for the charity watchdog Charity Commission, which has been pushing for the changes.
It is worth noting that, under the new rules, a charity can only open its donors’ account if it is the “only” charity with “special purposes”. “
It is also important that charities do not put undue pressure on their donors to give, and that they give priority to those charities with the highest need.”
It is worth noting that, under the new rules, a charity can only open its donors’ account if it is the “only” charity with “special purposes”.
If a charity wants to open a new account and make its donations available “to a wider range of charities and their staff, the charity must give its account to the charity and the charity’s head of service.”
If a non-profit is the charity, the charities must provide evidence to the Charity Commission that “special” uses have been made available to them.
This evidence must be signed by both the charity chief executive and the director general.
“The special use permission granted by the charity is for only the purposes listed in the consent, which is the purpose for which the donor has granted the special access,” said Richardson.
The consent can be renewed every six months, or a period of time up to six years, but must be approved by the Charity Commissioner.
“As part of the approval process, a donor must demonstrate that the organisation will be able to fulfil the purposes specified in the grant of special use.”
The Government has also published guidelines outlining how charities should respond to the new powers, and suggested the charity commissioner should examine any complaints about the new scheme.
“Some charities have indicated they will be open to using the powers for certain purposes, and others may be less receptive to them,” said a spokesperson for the Department for Justice.
“Any complaints should be directed to the Department of Justice’s helpline on 0300 123 4555.”
In the meantime, charities have been making donations to the Good Samaritan charity that has been running the National Good Samaritans Trust in south Wales for decades, despite the new restriction.
“This has been a long-standing and successful charity and we are proud to be supporting it for many years,” said the National Trust’s CEO, Steve Brown.
“But the Government must ensure that we are able to continue to provide good value for our donations, as we have been for the past 10 years.”
What do charities have to say about the changes?
The charity watchdog said it was “troubled” by the new proposals.
“While we recognise that charities must still work with the public to improve the UK’s public services, it would be a grave injustice to impose this on charities that are already struggling to cope with the impact that the new policy will have on them,” it said.
“Charities are already under pressure from the Government to increase their donations to ensure that all of their services are delivered effectively, and they should be encouraged to continue this work in order to keep the public safe.”
“In the meantime,” it added, “the charity sector has shown a commitment to giving back to the public, and it is important that they continue to do so.”
Charity Commission chief executive Matthew Richardson said the Government was “in a position to help the charity sector”.
“We urge the Department to reconsider its proposals, which will put at risk charities who are already suffering financially,” he said.
He said the charities should “explain the reasons why the new permission is needed” and “request that they can be consulted about any concerns”.
“As the charities’ chief executive, I know they will continue to work tirelessly to improve our public services and to deliver good value to our donors,” he added.
“However, if a charity has a good reason to want to open their donors accounts, it should do so in a way that is acceptable to the donor.”
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