Written Answers. - Voluntary Sector.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

137 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will introduce legislation on regulation of charities and fundraising. [20340/00]

The publication of the White Paper – Supporting Voluntary Activity – is the start of the Government's long-term strategy to develop and support the community and voluntary sector. One of the main issues that arose during the consultation process with the community and voluntary sector was the need for a supportive legal and regulatory framework for charities and fundraising.

Preparatory work on the preparation of new legislation in this area – following from the work of the report of the Committee on Fundraising Activities for Charitable and Other Purposes, the Costello report, and a working group set up under the previous Government – has been undertaken in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Government has now decided that responsibility for charity regulatory matters and the Commissioners of Charitable Donations and Bequests will transfer from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to my Department.

The Government is committed to ensuring that comprehensive legislation on regulation of charities and their fundraising is produced as a priority. The sector will be consulted in the development of the legislation through the implementation and advisory group being set up to oversee the implementation of decisions contained in the White Paper, Supporting Voluntary Activity. There is a number of procedural steps to go through to give effect to this Government decision – including a formal transfer of functions order.