New DSC toolkit to help monitor the Charity Commission’s independence

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The Directory of Social Change has published a toolkit that will help the sector monitor any encroachment on the Charity Commission’s political independence.

Three Pillars of Independence, published today, includes some questions to test whether the Commission is acting independently of party politics, the press and populism. 

When Baroness Tina Stowell, a former Conservative minister, was announced as the next chair of the regulator, a number of sector bodies, including DSC, expressed concern about what this could mean for the regulator’s perceived independence. 

The regulator’s two previous chairs, William Shawcross and Dame Suzi Leather, also faced criticism of their links to political parties. 

Jay Kennedy, director of policy and research at DSC, said: “Recent governments have sought leverage over the Charity Commission via the appointments process. To anyone paying attention it’s obvious that relevant administrative expertise, experience of charities, or knowledge of charity law has been secondary to other considerations.

“This is a deeply disturbing trend. Charity trustees need confidence that their regulator is operating in an objective way, based on the law and evidence, not unduly influenced by political rhetoric or press hyperbole.” 

“We’ve published this toolkit as a bulwark to support the Commission’s independence and confidence in its legally-binding judgments. We encourage others to use it, and hope it makes the job easier for everybody in the sector and beyond.” 

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