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Meeting the Charity Test and demonstrating Public Benefit

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  1. Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) Meeting the Charity Test and demonstrating Public Benefit Public Consultation 3 September – 27 November 2009 www.charitycommissionni.org.uk

  2. What is public benefit? • Why are we asking, why is it important? • Consensus on what we mean by public benefit? • What does it look like? • Common issues across jurisdictions? Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  3. Public benefit: Northern Ireland No presumption of public benefit for any purpose. We must consider; • Private benefit and detriment Vs public benefit gained or provided. • Whether any condition on obtaining benefit is unduly restrictive. Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  4. Charitable Headings a)the prevention or relief of poverty; b) the advancement of education; c) the advancement of religion; d) the advancement of health or the saving of lives; e) the advancement of citizenship or community development; f) the advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science; g) the advancement of amateur sport; h) the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity; i) the advancement of environmental protection or improvement; j) the relief of those in need by reason of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage; k) the advancement of animal welfare; l) any other purposes within paragraph (4).

  5. The charity test Why do we need a test? A body meets the charity test if; Its purposes consist only of one or more of the charitable purposes It provides (or, in the case of an applicant, provides or intends to provide) public benefit in Northern Ireland or elsewhere Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  6. Private Benefit To be acceptable, must be secondary and/or necessary to provision of public benefit Issues: • Professional bodies • Member only clubs • Regeneration Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  7. Detriment More than the absence of benefit – equivalent to disbenefit or harm Issues: • Controversial charities –moral judgements • Generic detriment vs individual decision making Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  8. Undue restriction Where access to benefit restricted to section of public, are the conditions on access unduly restrictive? Issues: • What is ‘undue’? • Membership requirements • External benchmarks • Fees and charges Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  9. What can & can’t be a charity • Party political • Distribution of property for non-charitable purposes • Conflicts of interest & independence • Trading activities • Objectionable names

  10. Standing Back How will we put it together? • Dealing with complexity • Balance and the whole picture • Proportionality and consistency What is ‘charitable’? Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  11. Balanced judgement Private benefit Detriment Restrictions Public benefit Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)

  12. What Next • Road shows • Newry Monday 14th Sept 5.30 pm • Derry Tuesday 29th Sept 5.30 pm • Ballymena Monday 5th Oct 5.30 pm • Enniskillen Thursday 8th Oct 5.30 pm • Coleraine Wednesday 14th Oct 5.30 pm • Belfast tbc • Consultation ends on 27th November. • January/February 2010 publish the finalised guidance. Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)