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Not for Profit e News April 2024 5

Charity Commission's Chapter 5: Protecting Charities from Abuse for Extremist Purposes

Posted on: April 17th 2024 · read

The Charity Commission’s Chapter 5: Protecting Charities from Abuse for Extremist Purposes aims to assist trustees in fulfilling their legal duties under charity law, managing risks, and safeguarding their charities from being exploited for extremism, terrorism, or illegal activities.

Trustees should aim to strike a balance between free expression and protection, ensuring that their charity contributes positively to civil society whilst adhering to legal requirements and safeguarding against misuse. In late March 2024, the Charity Commission updated their guidance, with key changes detailed below:

Definition of Extremism

Extremism is now defined as:

“The promotion or advancement of an ideology based on violence, hatred or intolerance, that aims to:

  1. Negate or destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms of others; or
  2. Undermine, overturn or replace the UK’s system of liberal parliamentary democracy and democratic rights; or
  3. Intentionally create a permissive environment for others to achieve the results in (1) or (2).”

Enhanced Scrutiny

The Commission now exercises more rigorous scrutiny over charities susceptible to exploitation for extremist purposes. This entails thorough assessments of charities' activities, finances, and affiliations to detect any signs of extremist influence or misuse.

Guidance and Training

To empower trustees and charity personnel in identifying and addressing potential risks, the Commission provides comprehensive guidance and training programmes. These resources equip them with the knowledge and tools needed to safeguard their organisations from infiltration by extremist elements.

Reporting Obligations

Charities are mandated to promptly report any suspicions or incidents of extremist activity within their organisations. This reporting obligation ensures timely intervention by regulatory authorities to prevent further harm and protect the integrity of the charitable sector.

Educational Outreach

Recognising the importance of raising awareness and fostering resilience against extremist ideologies, the Commission engages in educational outreach initiatives. These efforts aim to promote understanding and critical thinking, empowering individuals to resist manipulation and exploitation by extremist elements.

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This insight was previously published in our Not for Profit April 2024 eNews

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