The Isle of Man Government is consulting on proposed new legislation to update and improve the effectiveness of the registration and regulation of Charities in the Island.
Charities are currently registered and regulated under the Charities Registration Act 1989. The Government has concluded that, over time, the provisions of that Act have become outdated and the system needs modernising in order to retain public confidence in the Manx charitable sector. It is also necessary to take account of recent changes to the meaning of “charity” in England and Wales so that bona fide charities established in that jurisdiction are not prevented from carrying on activities on the Island.
The Bill does not seek to make any changes to the nature of an organisation that can register as a charity in the Island, such as imposing an income threshold, nor does it alter the requirement that it have a substantial and genuine connection with the Island. Further, while the Bill extends the authority of the Attorney General as regards giving consent to certain steps to be taken by charities, it does not seek to exclude the jurisdiction of the High Court, which is provided by the Charities Act 1962.
The Bill has six main purposes:
- to update the meaning of “charity” in the Island so that it remains at least as broad as in England and Wales;
- to provide for a modern register of charities which are carrying out activities within the Island;
- to assist charity trustees (however described, eg as trustees, directors or committee members) in the proper delivery of their charity’s objectives, by ensuring that charities have constitutional documents which are fit for purpose and that the process of responding to a changing environment is straightforward and inexpensive;
- to ensure more effective regulation of charities by increasing reporting requirements and ensuring accountability on the part of all charities carrying on activities in the Island, in addition to providing for the automatic disqualification of individuals for acting as trustees in certain circumstances and for consideration of the risk of a charity seeking registration to be used for money-laundering or financing terrorism;
- to improve public service and administrative efficiency by combining the functions of registrar and regulator in HM Attorney General, thus mirroring the Charity Commission for England and Wales; and
- to provide a simplified mechanism for appealing decisions of the registrar/regulator by establishing a Charities Tribunal.
The Attorney General’s Office tells me that the consultation closes on 5 October (as it says on the web page).