Charities want to keep their regulator: Analysis of submissions to the ACNC (Repeal) (No.1) Bill 2014

Submissions to the Senate inquiry into the Bill to repeal the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) closed Friday 2 May, 2014 – 154 were published.

There will be two Bills in the process of legislative change. The first, this one, is to repeal the ACNC Act. The second will be to establish regulatory arrangements in its place. The first bill will not come into effect until the second Bill is published.

This analysis of the submissions to the inquiry contains statistics and quotes from a review of the submissions. If you would like to print a copy, please download the PDF. It is organised under the headings:

  1. Who submitted
  2. Arguments against the Repeal Bill
  3. Support for the Repeal Bill
  4. About the ACNC.

A summary of this information was published as an article, Charities Voice Overwhelming Opposition to ACNC Repeal Bill in Pro Bono News on Monday 13 May.

The most frequently quoted and supported submissions came from the Community Council for Australia and the Queensland Law Society.

[The Creating Australia submission was published twice (numbers 16 and 146) and is thus counted as two submissions.]

Who submitted and what was their position?

Position on the ACNC (Repeal) (No.1) Bill 2014

124 (81%) submissions opposed the Bill and 14 (9%) supported it. Fifteen submissions provided information or made statements to the Senate Committee, but neither stated explicit opposition nor support for the Bill. One submission was confidential.

ACNC 1 Continue reading

Public trust and confidence in charities only 6.6%?

The UK Charity Commission is one of the models feeding into the nearly-established Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, so we learn from the triumphs and failures that have come before us. Here’s a lesson: always check your units!

The Charity Commission Annual Report includes “Our performance this year“, which reports against a range of inputs and outputs. And I congratulate them for leading by example and doing this. It’s very clear and accessible. There is one outcome for 2011-12:And the results are (final two column headers are 2010-11, 2011-12):Does that look a little low to you? They’re obviously improving, but 6.6% ain’t a whole lot of trust! Let’s check out the source…

Here is the extract from Ipsos MORI’s 2012 report for the Charity Commission – note the question at the top. (The Annual Report above looks like it used the 2010 data.)Ok, that’s enough of the point and laugh. I would absolutely recommend reading the full Ipsos MORI report – there are further questions on what respondents trusted charities to do, why they trusted them more or less and how much this was affected by their own engagement with the charity sector.

I’m so glad they gave charities 6.7 out of 10, not 100 – that’s a little more optimistic!

The launch of Accounting for Value is timely for discussions on Australian charities’ financial reporting

The SROI Network has just launched it’s site Accounting for Value where Jeremy Nicholls challenges us to take principles-based accounting back to basics and ask ourselves what we want to account for and how we might agree on the answer.

While the discussion may seem idealistic and somewhat hypothetical, it’s a great basis for charities in Australia to start from when thinking about the financial reports they’ll soon be submitting to the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. What story do we want to tell, and well how do our current accounting principles and practices deliver it?

One week left to comment on draft ACNC Bill

One week left to comment on draft ACNC Bill

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics, has invited written submissions on the Exposure Draft for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Bill. Submissions close Friday 20 July 2012. The ACNC’s frequently asked questions contain most of the relevant information. The Committee webpage has information on making a submission. And the Commonwealth Treasury site lists the public consultations that have fed into this Bill.

This Bill will affect which information charities report, who they report it to and how it’s made available to the public. It’s been prepared by the Commonwealth Treasury, so feedback from the sector and stakeholders (including state governments) is essential. This isn’t an easy task, because Australia hasn’t had a national charity regulator before.

The consultations seem to have focused on setting out the purpose and function of the regulator and how much work charities will have to do to comply with the new systems. Less discussion has taken place on the long-term implications for charities and their funders – particularly regarding the use of data to rate or rank charities and the pressures this may place on charities or funders to behave differently. For example, classifying large reserves as low risk in constructing a risk measure encourages charities to stockpile reserves, which may reduce their cash flow for running the programs that benefit the community. Government funders may be required to compare the efficiency of the programs or organisations they fund with the wider sector as more information becomes available.