Bubb calls for regulator to rebalance enforcement and support roles

Written by Matt Ritchie

Acevo chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb has called on the Charity Commission to place greater emphasis on its role in supporting charities in the wake of the closure of Kids Company.

In an open letter to Charity Commission chair William Shawcross, Bubb said that achieving the regulator’s mission of maintaining public trust in charities has to be done both through regulation and “by advising and assisting charities on good governance, leadership and best practice”.

The letter comes after Shawcross wrote a column in the Financial Times, stressing that it is not the commission’s role to save failing organisations, and it is in fact prohibited from acting in the administration of charities.

Bubb wrote that Shawcross was correct, but the commission must still help to “ensure that charities get things right”.

“I wonder if it is now time for the commission to revise how it assists the charity sector as a whole – and so help charities avoid reaching the precipice of failure in the first place.”

Although the commission continues to provide guidance around governance, management, and reserves, Bubb said the regulator has moved away from its “much valued” role of providing further individual advice.

He wrote that budget cuts have made the regulator’s job more difficult, and Acevo would support the commission in resisting further cutbacks in the spending review.

“I think that the commission must now reflect on whether the balance between pastoral arm and policing arm is out of kilter,” Bubb concluded. “The sector umbrella bodies could play a supporting role in a shift of commission emphasis towards the former and would be happy to discuss how we might do this as Acevo with our CEO members.”

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