The public benefit requirement for charities in England and Wales: a qualitative study of its impact

Gareth Morgan, Leila Baker, Margaret Harris, Rebecca Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Charities Act 2006 introduced at least three changes leading to renewed emphasis on the public benefit requirement for charities in England and Wales: changes which have the potential to alter substantially society’s understanding of what it means for a body to be a charity. There has been a great deal of technical discussion of the changes, but against that background, this article presents a qualitative assessment of perceptions of the practical impact.

The changes made by the 2006 Act took effect in 2008, and by 2012 four years had elapsed for the impact to settle down. We assessed the perceived impact of the renewed public benefit emphasis, using in depth interviews with a number of major stakeholders and open workshops with charity staff, trustees and advisers.

We found that most study participants valued public benefit as a central concept distinguishing charitable and non-charitable organisations, although for many charities the impact is experienced mainly at the time of registration and when producing their annual reports.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalCharity Law and Practice Review
Volume15
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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