Saturday musings: the Charity Commission and “political” campaigning

The Runnymede Trust is a charitable think-tank focused on race equality and race relations in the UK. The Charity Commission opened a compliance case in April 2021 after complaints about the Trust’s response to the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (“the CRED report”) and the trustees’ decision to work with the Good Law Project to challenge certain public appointments. The Commission also noted the appearance of a senior executive of Runnymede at an event organised by a political party, alongside several elected representatives and affiliated speakers. The issue, in short, was whether the Trust was engaging in party-political activity, contrary to charity law – and the Commission has concluded that the Trust has not broken the law. So far, not much obviously to do with “religion” – but read on.

The Commission’s guidance states that a charity may campaign and undertake non-party-political activity and take up positions that not everyone agrees with, provided it is done in furtherance of the charity’s purposes. Continue reading