Charity umbrella organisation welcomes new legislation

Monday, March 10, 2014

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The Centre on Philanthropy is welcoming new legislation recently tabled to replace the “outdated” Charities Act 1978.

Executive director Elaine Williams said yesterday: “The new Act is a vital part of the charitable sector’s management and accountability, but this also means a higher standard of operations and ultimately better service provision to clients and the community.

“The daily operations of most charities are carried out by qualified, passionate professionals who are experts in their field.

“We believe that most of the larger established charities are able to meet the standards of the new act and The Centre on Philanthropy is here to assist all charities in achieving this.”

The Charities Bill 2014, tabled in the House of Assembly last week, repeals and re-enacts the existing legislation in an effort to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the sector, which employs around 900 people and generates $70 million in annual revenue.

In advance of the new legislation, the Centre on Philanthropy has already held several town meetings, presentations and focus group meetings with the public and the organisation’s membership.

“As a result a submission was sent to the Government outlining concerns and suggestions collected from our membership,” Ms Williams said. “We are pleased that some of our suggested recommendations have been included in this document.”

She also noted that last June the Centre entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Registry General to confirm the commitment of both parties to work together to ensure non-profits are properly equipped to deliver the best possible service to the public.

“While we are in support of the Charities Act we would like to assure charities that we are committed to our role to assist them to engage in best practice standards through training and education, make them aware of their options and to advocate on their behalf through our collaborative work with the Department of Home Affairs, the Charities Commission and The Registry General.

“We urge charities to operate as much as possible within best practice guidelines, and to seek advice and assistance through the Centre on Philanthropy when needed.”