On 18 October 2010, Parliament introduced the Charities (Amendment) Bill 2010 (the “Bill”), which proposes to amend the Charities Act (the “Act”) to facilitate its operation, in particular:
- to clarify the Act by replacing various terms in the Act with terms that are more readily understood by the charity sector, namely, the term “trusts” is replaced by the term “governing instruments”, and the term “charity trustees” is replaced by the terms “governing board members” or “key officers”, as appropriate;
- to provide relief for governing board members of charities from personal liability, similar to relief currently available to trustees and directors under the Trustees Act, the Companies Act and the Business Trusts Act;
- to make provision to extend the controls relating to charity accounts and audits, including the application of accounting standards issued by the Accounting Standards Council, to more charities, including exempt charities and companies registered under the Act, and to make a related amendment to the Companies Act; and
- to consolidate and enhance the provisions relating to the regulation of fund-raising appeals. Some of the principal amendments are briefly mentioned here.