Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, in partnership with Arts & Business, is currently working with the newly-established Charity Commission for Northern Ireland to roll out a series of information seminars designed specifically for the Northern Ireland Cultural Sector. (Further details of these events will follow in due course.)
Drawing up the ‘public benefit’ test is the first major piece of work to be undertaken by the Commission and they are starting the consultation process this month. Accommodating commercial work within the test - for example, where an arts organisation charges an admission fee for an event - will be an important issue to consider and the Arts Council would encourage the arts sector to participate fully in the consultation.
The Charities Act (NI) 2008 provides that to be a ‘charity’ an organisation must be established for charitable purposes. It further provides that these purposes are charitable only if they satisfy the test that they are for the public benefit.
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) is required to issue guidance on how it will apply the ‘public benefit’ test and has published a consultation document entitled ‘Meeting the Charity Test – Demonstrating Public Benefit.’ This document sets out the Commission’s views on what it needs to take into consideration when deciding whether an organisation can become, or continue to be a charity under the law of Northern Ireland.
Whether you are a charity employee, trustee, volunteer or member of the public, the Charity Commission would like to hear your views on this draft guidance. The launch of the consultation document and public consultation will be held on:
Thursday 3rd September 2009 from 5.30pm to 9.00pm at
NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, BT15 2GB
Further consultation events are scheduled as follows: -
14 September 2009, Newry Town Hall, 5.30-9pm
29 September 2009, Millennium Forum, Londonderry, 5.30-9pm
5 October 2009, Braid Centre, Ballymena, 5.30-9pm
8 October 2009, Clinton Centre, Enniskillen, 5.30-9pm
14 October 2009, Lodge Hotel, Coleraine, 5.30-9pm
Places are limited so advance booking is required for all of these events by e-mailing CCNI on firstname.lastname@example.org or by Tel: (028) 9051 5490.
Copies of the consultation document and summary guide will be available for download from CCNI’s website from 3rd September (www.charitycommissionni.org.uk). Hard copies can also be obtained by contacting the Commission Secretariat as follows:-
Tel: (028) 9051 5490; email: email@example.com; in writing to: CCNI Secretariat, 24-26 Arthur Street, Belfast, BT1 4GF.
All comments on the consultation document should be sent by e-mail or post to the Commission Secretariat at the above address to arrive notlater than Friday 27 November 2009. An optional structured response form will be provided. Anyone requiring the consultation document in an alternative format should contact the CCNI Secretariat.