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Parliament Committee agrees to further restrictions on people with convictions becoming trustees and senior managers of charities

 

On the 6th January, the House of Commons Public Bill Committee discussed the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill.

This was when the Committee got to look at Clause 10 of the Bill, which relates to the issues we’ve raised that will have an impact on people with convictions.

It was positive to see a number of the concerns we raised with the Committee brought up in the session. For example, Anna Turley MP said:

“Some issues remain to be ironed out, not least further understanding and mitigation of its impact on charities working in the criminal justice sector which help to support and promote the rehabilitation of offenders and which employ ex-offenders or—as with the excellent charity Unlock, for example—aim to have at least 50% of trustees with some experience of living with a criminal record. While these provisions pertain to unspent convictions, we have some questions that we hope the Minister will answer.

 

How many people employed in the charitable sector does the Minister expect to be affected by the extension of the disqualification framework to senior management positions? What assessment has been made of the impact of the new disqualification framework on former offenders employed in the charitable sector, including on their career prospects and long-term rehabilitation and resettlement? What assessment has been made of the impact of the legislation on charities that work with former offenders who are employed by community rehabilitation companies as part of the Government’s transforming rehabilitation reforms?”

We welcome the clear commitment from the Government to work with us. Rob Wilson, Minister of State for Civil Society, said:

“The commission has set up a working group to review its current staff guidance and the process of issuing waivers, as well as how information about waivers is communicated to those disqualified, so as to make it as clear and simple as possible. That has already involved rehabilitation charities, such as Unlock, and will continue to do so. The working group will also review the commission’s published information on this subject to ensure that it is consistent with its conclusions.”

We remain in opposition to the Bill and its proposals. However, we also recognise the need to take a pragmatic stance towards the changes on the horizon.

We have written to the Minister for Civil Society to seek further clarity about the numbers of people likely to be affected, and to seek assurances about the waiver process. We will also be working with the Charity Commission to improve this process.

Whatever happens, we plan to closely monitor the impact of the legislation.

We will continue to keep the trustee section of our website up to date with news and developments as they arise.

 

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Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

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