Charity law debate covers public benefit, protecting assets

Amendments to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill debated in the House of Lords this week covered a number of issues, including protecting charitable assets, improving social investment and the public benefit of private schools.

The Guardian has an article about the debate on an amendment (number 7) put forward to protect charitable housing association assets in particular:

Peers voted vote 257-174 in favour of an amendment that seeks to ensure charities are not “compelled to use or dispose of their assets in a way which is inconsistent with their charitable purposes”.

The amendment (14) on fundraising regulation was agreed to be included in the legislation – see our separate news item ‘Fundraising legislation and review move forward‘.

Amendment 19 is about “Independent schools’ facilities: public benefit“. Following the debate on this, the Charity Commission has issued a letter setting out its position on issues raised. The letter confirms plans to update guidance on public benefit and undertake new research.

The report stage debate of  saw a total of 37 amendments to the legislation put forward. Not all were ”moved” for consideration and some were withdrawn.

As recorded in the full sitting of the House of Lords immediately afterwards:

The report was received. Amendments 1 to 6 were agreed to. Amendment 7 was agreed to (see division 1). Amendments 8 to 14 were agreed to. Amendment 19 was disagreed to (see division 2). Amendments 25 to 29, 35 and 36 were agreed to. The bill, as amended, was ordered to be printed. (HL Bill 59)

Numbers 25 (and 29?) deals with social investment, while amendments 26 and 28 “relate to very minor improvements to language”.

The official record of the Lords ‘report stage’ can be found in Hansard (for 20th July). Note that there is an interruption after amendment 17 for a ‘Coalition Strategy’ announcement.