Today the Charity Commission issued Regulatory guidance for charities on engagement with the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Its Press Release states:
“The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is issuing regulatory guidance to charities on engagement with the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Political activity can be a legitimate activity for charities and some may want to engage with the referendum. However, the guidance sets out the threshold necessary to justify any charitable activity on this specific issue. It also makes clear the factors that trustees must consider if a decision is to be made to campaign on the outcome. Such political activity by charities must always be undertaken in the best interests of the charity, and must only ever be a means to an end and not an end in itself.
The commission already sets clear boundaries in its general guidance on political activity and campaigning. The supplementary guidance has been issued specifically for the EU referendum to provide further clarity for trustees. It should be considered, alongside the general guidance, by all charities making a decision on whether to engage with the referendum debate. Continue reading