A new ACEVO task force is drawing up proposals for a less stringent regulatory framework for the sector. The Conservatives in particular said in their manifesto they want to cut regulation. And many sector CEOs heartily agree. I met Lord Young (who Cameron asked to review the problem) before the election to discuss how we can be of use.
Our task force, which is chaired by BTCV chair Rupert Evenett, wants to cut red tape and create a more permissive culture within the sector, one that facilitates openness and transparency and where demands of compliance are more proportionate to the associated risks.
It will review best practice from other regulators and present its initial high-level review with recommendations for improving the sector’s regulation at the CEO Summit on 17 June. We're planning a meeting with Dame Suzi for before then.
Let me quote the Chair:
“At the moment there is an awful lot of regulation about the things we can’t do, and if someone wants to become a trustee they are always getting warned about the downsides, the risks of getting it wrong. The current system seems to be focused on risk aversions rather than on openness to opportunities.”
The taskforce also includes, among others, ACEVO’s former deputy CEO Nick Aldridge, now chief executive of Mission Fish; Sayer Vincent’s Kate Sayer; Richard Johnson, managing director of Serco Welfare to Work; John Stewart, company secretary at the Wellcome Trust, and RNIB chair Kevin Carey .
The work done last year by Carey’s progressive governance group has been merged into the task force’s agenda.
Let me quote Evenett again,
“There are a lot of people out there working hard and doing good work around the detail of regulation – CFDG and the Charity Law Association, for example - but they are all coming at it as a legalistic concept rather than a positive vision of what it should be like to allow us to do our job better.
At the moment we have to leap through 17 hoops to prove why we should be allowed to do things.”
On the specifics of what is being examined:
#Re-examine public benefit test:
The public benefit test needs revision so that it helps charities provide more benefit instead of spending their limited resources proving that they do good work.
The Charity Commission is likely to face budget cuts so we will argue that we want to help them do regulation in a different way, one that is more transparent and proportionate and helps the sector generate the maximum public benefit.
This is not charity Commission bashing as we will save them time, money and effort.
# Removing duplication
There are some quick wins available, such as removing the duplication of regulation required by different regulators. Care charities, for instance, are subject to charity regulation and social care regulation, and too often have to supply the same information in different ways to each regulator. There should be agreement between regulators that it only needs to be provided once. We want regulation in a “proportionate, high-impact” way.
The task force is inviting people from the sector to share any experiences that may be pertinent.
If you have a view email Nick Carey at ACEVO ; firstname.lastname@example.org.
And I can reveal here, exclusively,that Geraldine Peacock is to give evidence too. I had a phone call form Geraldine Peacock on Friday. She has seen the publicity on our taskforce and is keen to contribute. You will recall that Geraldine was a distinguished former Chair of the Charity Commission as well as having been CEO of Guide Dogs.
I see that David Fielding of Tribal is recruiting 2 really interesting jobs, the first is the Chief Executive for the Novas Scarman Group which is now Chaired by the brilliant and dynamic Andrew Barnett who is the Director of the Gulbenkian Foundation (and an ACEVO member, naturally)
If you want the job here is the link!
David is also recruiting the Head of Client Relationships for CAF, which is a key and indeed crucial organisation and run by my previous Chair John Low. The link
Given the changes and upheavals ahead and the desire of so many to get into the sector (and all those displaced public servants!) I suspect David and his team are going to be much in demand.