11/02/2005

Government launches charity consultation document

A public consultation exercise to seek views on proposed changes to the existing laws governing charities in Northern Ireland was announced today by Social Development Minister John Spellar.

The appointment of a Charities Commission and a Register of Charities in Northern Ireland, are among the main proposals in a document called Consultation on the Review of Charities Administration and Legislation in Northern Ireland 2005, and is published by the Department for Social Development.

The Minister said: “Charities in Northern Ireland make an immense contribution, helping those in our society who are most in need. The proposed changes are designed to provide greater public confidence in how charities operate and spend the donations they receive from the public.

“We need to address concerns that the lack of tighter control of charities in Northern Ireland provides opportunities for abuse by organised criminal elements. This can only be good for all concerned.”

The consultation document looks at the existing system of charity administration, and outlines proposals for changes and new provisions that might be introduced to ensure an even more effective system, while continuing to safeguard charitable funds.

Comments are being sought from a wide range of interests, both within the charitable and voluntary sector and from the public at large. The closing date for receipt of comments is 20 May 2005.

(MB/SP)

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