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Charities: Finance

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proportion of their funding charities need to receive from non-governmental sources in order to be designated as independent. (263370)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the commission to reply.

Letter from Andrew Hind, dated March 2009:

As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your written Parliamentary Question on the proportion of its income a charity can derive from the state whilst maintaining its independence.

As the regulator, we see independence as key to charitable status. All charities must be independent of government and other funders, and the trustees of a charity are bound to act solely in the interests of the charity and its beneficiaries, complying with charity law and the requirements of the charity’s governing document. It is for the trustees alone to decide on the most appropriate sources of funding for their charity, and this can include funding mainly or wholly provided by a public body. Where a charity receives funding from a public body the trustees must be satisfied that this does not impede the charity’s independence. We produce guidance for charity trustees on this subject and I have arranged for copies of:

CC37: Charities and public service delivery; and

RR7: Charities and independence from the state;

to be placed in the House of Commons Library.

If you would like to discuss this issue further I would be very happy to arrange a meeting for you with some of our senior staff who lead on this area of our work.

I hope this is helpful.