The Charity Commission has issued an order to all charities to remain free from politics and not to allow the personal views of their leaders to dictate their public positions. In a significant address, chairman of the Commission, Orlando Fraser, reminded non-profits of the fact that they are “not political parties” and that everything they do should be rooted in their stated purpose and be beneficial to their beneficiaries.
Various charities publicly opposed the Government’s decision to send illegal migrants to Rwanda, which prompted the remarks from Mr Fraser. He insisted that although it is imperative for charities to make their voices heard and support people who are unable to speak up on their own, they must still remain impartial when it comes to politics. He encouraged charities to have constructive conversations on the issues at hand and focus on the impact on beneficiaries rather than on trashing the motivations of those with opposing views.
Mr Fraser’s speech was held on March 22 at an Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations’ (ACEVO) Festival of Leadership and was available for public view on the Commission’s website. His comments were welcomed by Conservative MPs, with former minister David Jones praising Mr Fraser for addressing such an important issue.
In addition to his role as chairman of the Commission, Mr Fraser has a three-year term where he is responsible for two-and-a-half days per week. His appointment was opposed by the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee based on the process in which it occurred, but not because of his involvement as an individual.
The Charity Commission is an executive non-departmental public body responsible for regulating charities in England and Wales and developing charity law. It ensures that charities comply with the law, are able to operate properly and strengthen public trust and confidence in the charitable sector. The Charity Commission also provides advice, guidance and reports on their operations.
Orlando Fraser is a highly respected figure in the charitable sector. Before taking on the prominent role of Commission Chairman, Orlando Fraser was a partner/member of Devonshires, a legal service committed to providing guidance and support to the charity sector in England and Wales. He has made many strides in improving the regulatory aspects that govern charities, providing a clear and practical approach to the law when it relates to charity work. Thanks to his work, the Commission is better able to provide the necessary guidance, support and advice to those operating in the charitable sector.