Proposed amendments to the Charities Act, being considered right now by a Government Administration Select Committee, would appear to remove the ability of charities to appeal any decisions of the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs.
The proposed changes have not been communicated clearly nor have they involved the sector as part of a consultation exercise to gain sector support. But it’s not too late, we have until this Friday to stop this happening.
The specific impact of this change is that charities lose their ability to appeal decisions of the Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs, who can decide, for example, to refuse access to the charities register, to amend the register, or that the financial statements of a charity fail to comply with a financial reporting standard.
The proposal would remove an important check and balance on the power of the Chief Executive and, in doing so, move further away from a partnership relationship between the community sector and government.
The Government must stop this ongoing process of undermining the charity sector, and the important work charities do to respond to community needs, as they see them, much more efficiently than government, and in innovative and nimble ways. Allowing charities to do that allows them to form an important glue that holds our society together.