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CMF submission to Charity Commission consultation

Published: 13th January 2011

Explanatory note: Christian Medical Fellowship is a registered charity. The Charity Commission is due to have its funding cut by 33% in real terms as part of the government's review of public spending. They anticipate that the cuts are likely to lead to a loss of 140 full time equivalent posts and are therefore anxious to find out from 'stakeholders' what future priorities should be. Some of CMF's Trustees made personal submissions, and this consensus corporate submission was made on behalf of CMF as an organisation.

Charity Commission Strategic Review

Thank you for taking part in this survey. We want our review to be informed by those who have an interest in the Commission's work and are affected by our decisions.

1) What do you think are the key risks to the impact and effectiveness of the charitable sector over the next 5 years? Please list these in order of (a) importance and (b) impact.

(a) Importance
1. Reduced income due to national economic situation
2. Reduced public confidence (and willingness to donate) if adequate scrutiny of charities is not maintained and 'rogues' hit the headlines

(b) Impact
1. Reduced charity activity as some smaller charities may close and larger ones have less resources, leading to, eg:
2. Some otherwise potential recipients no longer obtaining the benefit in question
3. Less awareness of key ethical and social issues locally, nationally, and internationally
4. Less advocacy for vulnerable minorities locally, nationally, and internationally
5. Less ability to challenge powerful political, business, media bodies with vested interests

2) In light of the key risks you have identified, what are the key expectations you have of the Commission? Please list your expectations in order of priority (most important first).

1. Without being over-burdensome, maintain appropriately rigorous scrutiny of existing charities to preserve public confidence
2. Without being over-burdensome, maintain appropriately rigorous scrutiny of applications for registration to preserve public confidence
3. Continue making a convincing case to government to maintain and develop the appropriate fiscal benefits charities receive
4. Maintain and develop the excellent transparent presentation to interested parties of charities' aims and activities

3) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
X The Commission should protect the reputation of the charitable sector by being rigorous and questioning before accepting registrations
The Commission should encourage charitable activity through a light touch registration process

4) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
The Commission should rely principally on transparency to meet its regulatory remit
X The Commission should play a pro-active regulatory role as a deterrent to abuse of charitable status.

5) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
The Commission should investigate individual organisations only rarely and in cases where large amounts of charitable funds are at risk
X The Commission has a responsibility to investigate any case where there is prima facie evidence of a registered charity breaking charity law

6) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
X Charity trustees should be left to make their own decisions on issues such as trustee payments or selling land
Proposals by charities, such as selling land or making payments to trustees, should be carefully considered by the Commission and be subject to its approval

7) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
X The Commission should be a key 'enabler' through the regulatory advice it provides to individual charities
The Commission should put its guidance on the website and not give any advice on a one-to-one basis to individual charities

8) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
X The Commission should focus primarily on helping charities to understand the legal requirements and to run themselves effectively
The Commission should focus primarily on dealing firmly with non-compliance with charity law

9) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
X The Commission should focus on the public information it gives about the charity sector
The Commission should encourage others to do more to provide information to the public

10) Which of these statements do you most agree with?
The Commission should get involved in investigating only issues or organisations of national significance
X Issues of significance for local communities should be addressed by the Commission just as actively as issues of national significance

11) Is there another body or bodies that could or should take on functions currently carried out by the Charity Commission?
Yes (please list below)
X No

12) Please select the option that best describes you
Charity trustee
X Charity employee
Charity volunteer
Charity professional adviser
Member of the public
Local/central government or Parliamentarian
Journalist or blogger
Other (please specify)

13) If you are happy for us to contact you, please provide contact details. This is optional - please let us know if anything in your response is confidential, or if you don't want us to publish your name or contact details. We will take this into account, although we cannot promise not to publish this information if we have a duty to do so under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Name Dr Andrew Fergusson
Charity/organisation Christian Medical Fellowship
Telephone 020 7234 9675

For further information:

Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 4,000 British doctor members in all branches of medicine. A registered charity, it is linked to about 65 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian doctors to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
Contact Phone020 7234 9660
Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
© 2019 Christian Medical Fellowship. A company limited by guarantee.
Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
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