Charities and Political Campaigning: The Impact of Risk-Based Regulation
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This article examines the effects of the Charity Commission’s implementation of risk-based regulation on the political campaigning activities of charities. In doing so, it draws on the findings of a recent empirical study which explored charity representatives’ awareness of relevant law and regulation and their perceptions of the obstacles they faced in their campaigning work. The article begins with a brief exploration of the emergence of risk-based approaches to regulation, followed by consideration of the legal and regulatory requirements for risk management by charities. Moving to its main focus of political campaigning, the article notes the unique legal issues faced by charities in campaigning work. It provides a comparative evaluation of the 2004 and 2008 versions of Charity Commission guidance CC9 on campaigning and political activity by charities (CC9) in terms of their approach to legal compliance, their formulation of the specific risks of campaigning and their approach to the process of risk management itself. In addition, the article considers the relevance to campaigning activity of the Commission’s current plans for an ‘enhanced approach’ to risk in its compliance work. The article concludes by considering the potential impacts on charitable campaigning of both the Commission’s overall approach to campaigning and its perceived risks, and of further entrenchment of risk principles in charity regulation.
KeywordsCharities Politics Campaigning Risk Regulation
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