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Too Hot to Handle?

A full ten months ago, the former Trustees of jole rider submitted evidence for the Parliamentary Inquiry by the DCMS Committee into the Charity Commission to. That evidence can be viewed here. Since then, the Trustees have monitored the progress of the DCMS's Inquiry. This has not been in the least onerous, since there has been no progress. What the DCMS have informed us, on different occasions, is that their schedule has been altered, due to various issues connected with Covid-19. The Inquiry into the Charity Commission, although still a live Inquiry, is not a current Inquiry. We have asked the DCMS Committee why nothing is happening and their most recent explanation appears below. We have to wonder how it is that this particular Inquiry has come to be shelved, especially as the majority of the work involved is to be carried out by the Commission. That work by them is to respond to a simple list of questions, all of which arise from the evidence which has been submitted to the Inquiry. However, ours is not to reason why, and politicians have a way of - as well as a time for - doing things, as we all know. That said, we note that others are reasoning why - or at least wondering why - and have come up with an intriguing possibility. This is, that the Charity Commission has permitted its impartiality as regulator to be tainted by the close proximity of some of its personnel to one particular organisation which happens to be registered as a charity with the Commission. Some would understandably argue that this story warrants a full investigation, as well.

Before closing, the Trustees of jole rider affirm that due to the importance of the Inquiry into the Charity Commission, they will not waver in their determination to press the DCMS to conduct it. The importance of the Inquiry is particularly high, given the difficulty most charities are currently facing. Moreover, the Trustees are aware of at least three other charities with equally compelling evidence which will be submitted to the DCMS very soon. Sometimes, delays in process can work out favourably! Even without the new evidence to be submitted, the Charity Commission has already been revealed to so many people as being unfit for purpose. The entire country looks to the DCMS to confirm this reality about the regulator and to implement a radical reorganisation of the Charity Commission ASAP.

The most recent email from the DCMS Committee The Committee decides, as a group, on how to prioritise its time. Most sessions of the Committee are related to issues that it has resolved to inquire into while others are routine scrutiny of arms length bodies that fall under the ambit of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport


The session with the Charity Commission was of the latter category and, when Covid restrictions meant the Committee was unable to meet, that session had to be cancelled.


Since the resumption of Committee meetings, facilitated through remote technology, the Committee’s time has been consumed by issues related to Covid, other issues that the Committee has resolved to inquire into, or issues that the Committee wanted to be considered at an early opportunity.


The Committee will pick up its more general scrutiny issues when there is opportunity in its schedule, the Charity Commission is likely to feature in that, but we cannot put a definite date on when that will be until the Committee makes a decision to do so.


Julian Knight, Chair of the DCMS Committee