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Charity Commission clarifies new powers to issue warnings

Melanie May | 19 December 2016 | News

The Charity Commission will give charities and charity trustees 28 days to respond to warnings, it has announced in a clarification of its new statutory powers.
Under The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016, the commission has been granted the statutory power to issue official warnings, and to disqualify individuals from trusteeship. Consultations on these powers resulted in a number of requests for clarification on how the commission would issue warnings, the notice period and process for representations, and the approach to the publication of warnings.
In its clarification document, published last week, it states that it does not need to open a statutory inquiry before it can issue a warning, but that it may consider opening an inquiry and using its other powers if trustees subsequently fail to rectify a breach specified in an official warning.
It also states that the commission will follow the principles in its risk framework in deciding what regulatory action is appropriate, and is likely to take action when it considers a charity to:

It is unlikely to issue a warning when:

According to the document: ‘In all cases where the commission… intends to issue a warning, it must give statutory notice of its intention and give each of the trustees (in the UK) and the charity the opportunity to make representations first. So you will be aware of the commission’s concerns and will have the opportunity to respond before the commission decides to proceed with issuing or publishing the official warning.’
Once a charity has been notified of a proposed warning, it will normally have 28 days to respond.
While the commission is willing to consider a range of representations, it must consider representations about ‘the content of the proposed warning’, including:


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The commission has also clarified its position on the publication of warnings, and on what trustees must do in response to an official warning. The full Q&A document can be downloaded from the commission’s site.