Faith, charity trustees and the counter-extremism agenda

In the last round-up we noted that on 12 September The Telegraph carried a report by Andrew Gilligan about a leaked draft of the Home Office’s new counter-extremism strategy; the report suggested that the Government would set up a “national register of faith leaders” and require them to undergo government-specified training and security checks in order to work with the public sector, including universities. The report said that the strategy would “require all faiths to maintain a national register of faith leaders” and that the Government would “set out the minimum level of training and checks” that faith leaders would have to demonstrate in order to join the new register.

It was a leak; and the trouble with leaked documents is that Governments of all political persuasions – very properly – do not normally comment on their content. Hard on its heels, however, came a further report by Andrew Gilligan on Saturday that a leaked draft of the strategy (whether the same one or a later version is not clear) says that the new powers under the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill that will enable the Charity Commission for England and Wales to remove trustees will be used far more widely than previously expected. Continue reading