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Baroness Stowell to focus on charity behaviour in speech setting out Commission’s new strategy

Baroness Stowell
Baroness Stowell to focus on charity behaviour in speech setting out Commission’s new strategy

Baroness Stowell is to ask charities to demonstrate charitable behaviour and attitude in all aspects of their work this evening (4 October) when she sets out a new strategic direction for the in a speech.

Baroness Stowell is to explain how charities, and the Charity Commission, must change to meet public expectations if the concept of charity is to survive and maximise its positive impact in society.

Her speech comes as the Commission publishes its new strategy, which sets out the regulator’s purpose as being “to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society”.

Baroness Stowell will tell an audience at the Royal Society of Arts this evening that the future of charity cannot be taken for granted, with the majority of the public expecting charities to display high standards of conduct.

“I truly believe that unless all of us involved in charity – that means all charities, and the Commission as regulator, take steps now to promote what is special about charity, and to meet legitimate public expectations of charity, then we risk being complicit in its decline. All of us must recognise our collective responsibility as custodians of what it means to be a charity in the eyes of the public. We must all fulfil our responsibility for making the changes needed.”

“We have firm evidence of near universal accord among the public on this basic expectation: that a charity, to inspire trust, must be more than an organisation with laudable aims. It must be a living example of charitable purpose, charitable attitude, and charitable behaviour.”

This has implications for the way the Commission regulates, she will say, with a need for it to do more.

As such , the Commission’s new strategy will set out five core strategic objectives:

  • Holding charities to account
  • Dealing with wrongdoing and harm
  • Informing public choice
  • Giving charities the understanding and tools they need to succeed
  • Keeping charity relevant for today’s world

Baroness Stowell will also commit in her speech to working constructively with charities to achieve this:

“We can only achieve our purpose if we have the right relationship with the charities we regulate. I see no benefit in a deliberately adversarial approach. I will not measure my success in the number of public fights I pick. I will not feel stronger for having criticised charities. And I fully expect that, in pursuing our purpose, my team and I will be championing charitable behaviour, as much as we will be required to draw attention to shortcomings or failings. […]. Charities and the Commission have a shared, collective responsibility for ensuring that the concept of Charity survives into future generations, and to enable charities to maximise the good they do.”

Baroness Stowell’s speech will take place at 6pm at the Royal Society of Arts.

You can view it here:

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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