Charity Commission welcomes withdrawal of proposed exempt charity status for academies

(Immediate Release - 2 February 2010)

 

 

 

 

The Charity Commission warmly welcomes the Government’s decision today to withdraw from the Children, Schools and Families Bill the proposal to deem academy schools exempt charities.

The Commission had consistently argued for the removal of this provision in the Bill. We had warned that the proposal would have reduced the accountability and transparency of academies, creating confusion and seriously risking damage to public trust and confidence in academies and in charity more widely. Key Parliamentarians, who have taken a longstanding interest in the voluntary sector, shared our concerns.

200 academy trusts are already registered charities and today’s decision means that academies will continue to register and be regulated by the Charity Commission in the normal way. This will ensure their legal independence and accountability.

While there are a number of other provisions in the Bill which relate to the establishment and operation of academies, we have confirmed to the Department for Children, Schools and Families that these do not in our view create any risk to the charitable status of academies.

We have since October had in place a joint protocol with the DCSF for academies applying to register, specifically designed to minimise bureaucracy. This is already helping streamline the registration process and we are confident it is the right approach to registering academies.

Today’s decision gives clarity and certainty for those academies which are currently registered charities and for those who will be establishing academies in the future. By keeping academies within the mainstream charity framework it avoids any confusion about their status, accountability, transparency or independence.

Ends.

PR 07/10

For further information or a copy of Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission’s letter to David Bell, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, please contact the press office

Notes to Editors

1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.

2. Our mission is: to ensure charities’ legal compliance, enhance charities’ accountability, encourage charities’ effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.

3. Clause 42 of the Children, Schools and Families Bill would have automatically deemed academies to be exempt charities. The Government has today tabled an amendment to the Bill to remove Clause 42 in its entirety.

4. Please see here for a further briefing on this issue - www.epolitix.com/fileadmin/epolitix/stakeholders/Academies__briefing_for_2nd_reading_final.doc

5. The Charity Commission’s protocol on academies can be found on our website - www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Charity_requirements_guidance/Specialist_guidance/Education/acadamy.aspx

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