Public benefit and charitable status: assessing a 20-year process of reforming the primary legal framework for voluntary activity in the UK
Abstract:Charitable status is self-evidently a key framework for a great deal of voluntary activity in the United Kingdom (UK) and in an increasing number of overseas jurisdictions. This article offers a critical review of the processes involved in revising the definition of 'charity' in the UK over the last 20 years, with specific attention to the principle of public benefit. It considers particularly the impact of the Deakin (1996) Commission and the subsequent reform of charity law enacted for England and Wales in the Charities Act 2006, plus the parallel changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The aim is not to offer a detailed legal analysis, but more to consider how these changes to the definition of 'charity' impact on voluntary activity more widely.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2012
Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.
The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.
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Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)
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