Joint Committee on the Draft Charities Bill

Press Notice

No. 3 of Session 2003-04, 17 June 2004

Embargo: For immediate release

Further information: Francene Graham  0207 219 8387



The Committee will take oral evidence in public from the following witnesses:

Wednesday 23 June at 9.05 am

9.05 am - Andrew Watt, Institute of Fundraising, Owen Watkins, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), Councillor Ian Green, Local Government Association (LGA), Pippa Combes, Institute of Licensing;

10.15 am - Pesh Framjee and Helen Verney, Charity Finance Directors' Group (CFDG);

10.45 am - Stephen Alambritis, Federation of Small Businesses

Wednesday 30 June at 9.05 am

Public benefit: Witnesses from schools (tbc).

Wednesday 7 July at 9.05 am

The Charity Commission.

Wednesday 14 July at

09.05 -11.30: Small charities

14.30 - 16.30: Small charities   (Witnesses tbc)

Wednesday 21 July at 9.05 am

Fiona Mactaggart MP, Home Office Minister

Further evidence sessions are to be announced. Meetings will take place in Committee Room 5 in the Palace of Westminster; it is advisable to ring the office on 020 7219 8387 to check the precise venue of each meeting a few days in advance.

For maps and directions to Parliament please click on the link below:

A transcript of each public meeting will be placed on the Committee’s web pages.  The web pages also contain the Committee’s call for written evidence, and will contain much of the written evidence received by the Committee:

Notes to Editors

1 Membership of the Committee:

Chairman: Rt Hon Alan Milburn MP (Lab, Darlington).

Lord Best (Crossbench); Lord Campbell-Savours (Labour); Earl of Caithness (Conservative); Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall (Labour); Lord Phillips of Sudbury (LibDem); Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover (Con); Mr Alan Campbell MP (Lab, Tynemouth); Rt Hon George Foulkes MP (Lab, Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley); Ms Sally Keeble MP (Lab, Northampton North); Mr Andrew Mitchell MP (Con, Sutton Coldfield); Bob Russell MP (LibDem, Colchester).

 2 Scope of the Committee's inquiry

The Joint Committee is very aware of the wide spectrum of charity activity, the number of small organisations and the distinction between fund-raising and grant-giving charities. It expects to concentrate its inquiry on the following themes:

1. Does the draft Bill strike the right balance between flexibility and accountability? How can the danger of over-regulation be avoided? How will this affect smaller voluntary-run charities?

2. Will the Bill improve public confidence in charities?  Will it encourage more giving and volunteering?

3. Are the 12 new charitable purposes the draft Bill proposes for a charity satisfactory -- should there be additions or deletions? Is the phrase ‘public benefit’ best left undefined in the Bill?  Do fee-paying schools which are charities demonstrate adequate public benefit arising from their activities?

4. Are there aspects of the draft Bill which would permit the charity and voluntary sector to play a greater role in the delivery of public services if they wished to do so?

5. What are the likely benefits and costs of the draft Bill? What level of funding will be necessary for the Charity Commission to carry out its additional tasks effectively?

6. Is it right that the draft Bill does not include the recommendation in the Strategy Unit consultation paper, Private Action, Public Benefit, that charities should be allowed to trade as part of their normal activities without the need to set up a trading company?

7. Are the proposals to regulate fund-raising workable?

8. Are the specific proposals in the draft Bill (such as the new corporate legal form, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation) adequate, workable and beneficial?

The Joint Committee also intends to take into account developments in similar legislation in Scotland and progress on the provisions for Community Interest Companies in the Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill currently before the House of Lords.

To follow the inquiry, see:

Webcasts of all evidence sessions are available within 24 hours at

If you wish to be added to the mailing list for future notices, please contact: Francene Graham, Committee Assistant to the Joint Committee on the Draft Charities Bill

Scrutiny Unit,  Room G10,  7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA 

Email: Tel: 020 7219 8387 Fax: 020 7219 8381.

The text of the draft bill can be found at:

The remit of the Committee is to consider the draft bill, and report on it to both Houses.  The Committee will proceed in the normal manner of Select Committees, by holding hearings and receiving written evidence.  The committee will publish a report making recommendations (to which the Government must respond) by the end of September 2004.