Stay out of politics, charities warned by Charity Commission as they overstep the mark
Charities have been warned once again by their regulator to stay out of politics and not to allow the personal views of their leaders to dictate their public positions.
In a speech last week, Orlando Fraser, the chairman of the Charity Commission, said that charities had to remember that they “are not political parties”. He added: “Charities must remain driven in everything they do for their purposes. Not the personal views or instincts of their leaders.”
In October last year charities including the RSPB and National Trust were warned by the charity commission after campaigning against the government's plans for the development of economic hubs as an 'attack on nature'.
The comments were called a “welcome dose of common sense” by Tories who have complained about the activist stances taken from charity leaders.
In the speech to charity leaders, Mr Fraser said that while institutions must “speak out in furtherance of their purposes and in the interests of their beneficiaries”, they are “not political parties”.
He said: “Charities often speak on behalf of those who otherwise would have no voice. That has always been the case and will always remain so.
“No one, least of all me, wants a public discourse robbed of the expertise, insight, and integrity that charities so often bring. But charities are not political parties.
“They are, and should remain, separate to the political fray – not focused on trashing the motivations of those who think differently, but in engaging on the issues, and the impact on your beneficiaries.” Mr Fraser made his comments in an unreported speech to the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisation’s Festival of Leadership on March 22, which has been published on the commission’s website.
The remarks were welcomed by Conservative MPs. David Jones, a former minister who sits on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee, said: “This is excellent news – a much-needed dose of common sense from Orlando Fraser.
“He has articulated what I have thought – that activists in charities abuse their position to push Left-wing political agendas.