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Charities: Standards

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will place in the Library a copy of the Charity Commission’s (a) policy on and (b) methodology for applying the public benefit test to charities. (315207)

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

Letter from Andrew Hind, dated February 2010:

As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your Parliamentary Question (315207) requesting that a copy of our policy on, and methodology for, applying the public benefit test to charities is placed in the House of Commons Library.

The Charities Act 2006 gives the Commission a statutory duty to publish guidance on the public benefit requirement. So far, and following extensive consultation, we have carried out this duty by publishing the guidance listed below which, in each case, includes a section which specifically sets out our approach to assessing public benefit:

Charities and Public Benefit—section H (January 2008)

The Prevention or Relief of Poverty for the Public Benefit—section G (December 2008)

The Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit—Section G (December 2008)

The Advancement of Education for the Public Benefit—Section G (December 2008)

Public Benefit and Fee-Charging—Section E (December 2008)

As to the methodology for the first round of assessments, we described this in a letter which we sent at the beginning of the process to the twelve charities involved and also published on our website. “Public Benefit Assessments: Emerging findings for charity trustees from the Charity Commission's public benefit assessment work: 2008-09” also explained our methodology. I have arranged for these and the following additional documents, which further explain our policy and methodology, to be placed in the Library:

Public benefit: statement of the basis for the Charity Commission’s role and actions (December 2008);

the individual reports from the first round of public benefit assessment (July 2009); and

open letter from the Chair and Chief Executive of the Charity Commission (July/August 2009).

All of this information is also publicly available in the public benefit area of the Charity Commission’s website at:

I hope this is helpful.