31 August 2011
The Charity Commission, the independent regulator for charities in England and Wales, has published more detailed guidance for charity trustees about a key section of the Equality Act that may have implications for them.
The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to consolidate previous equality legislation and to protect people who share specified characteristics against discrimination. The guidance is designed to complement the material already produced by the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission
The more detailed guidance, which replaces the existing summary published last September, retains a focus on the charities’ exception in the Act.
Following a short consultation exercise, this version also contains more
The purpose of the guidance remains focused on covering the part of the Act dealing with the ability of a charity to limit the group of people whom it helps, as set out in the charities’ exception. It explains what both existing charities and people seeking to register new charities need to know.
The charities’ exception allows a charity to limit its benefits to people who share a protected characteristic if the restriction is based on the needs or disadvantages experienced by that group, or can be justified as a fair balanced and reasonably necessary way of carrying out a legitimate aim.
Jane Hobson, Head of Policy for the Charity Commission said;
“Trustees must remember that the general principle of fair and equal treatment for all applies to charities. The law recognises that some charities are set up to help particular groups in society because of disadvantage or for clear social objectives and that is why it specifically allows charities in these circumstances to depart from the principle. Trustees need to familiarise themselves with this guidance to ensure that their charity is working within the law. ”
The existing guidance is available on the websites of the Government Equalities Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Charity Commission’s guidance is available on its website.
For further information on this story, please contact the press office.
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