CHARITY COMMISSIONERS A - Z
The Charity Commission has a set of rules that appear to be applied with various degrees of stringency such that applications for registration are decided on principles that tend to violate certain articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, namely Article 14 discrimination, without any Article 13 effective remedy, invoking Article 17 practices that impinge other convention rights.
An effective means of controlling which people and organizations are registered, where the Commission can take a view, is a potential problem. In some cases the Commission might refuse registration, while registering other organizations with near identical objectives; preferentially.
Transparency may also be an issue, where the Charity Commission's database appears designed to prevent easy access contrary to SDG16. Anti corruption and strong institutions help prevent climate change where efficient organizations that do not have to expend time and energy on cover ups will lead to a sustainable economy, this being a United Nations development goal.
The Charity Commission is established by law as the regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. Their stated aim is to provide the best possible regulation of charities in England and Wales in order to increase charities' effectiveness and public confidence and trust.
There is some confusion as to what a charity is, where many organizations with charitable objects, aims and projects that benefit mankind may not be registered - according to the Commission's own replies in writing. In our view this rather confusing situation decreases public confidence in a system that may be applied without independent checks and balances as to the way the Commission uses its powers to bar certain organizations from registration and allows others in very similar circumstances.
In the United Kingdom, few organizations might mount a legal challenge due to the high cost of solicitors and barristers. The Charity Commissioners can use this inequality at arms to promote some organizations over others. Legal Aid does not extend to cover the costs of (for example) Judicial Review or other High Court challenges, effectively refusing access to the law for smaller concerns in violation of Article 14 = financial discrimination.
Unless and until this Article 6 infringement is rectified to level the playing field, the present system is open to Article 17 abuses, allowing the Charity Commission to take advantage of lesser funded organizations over those that are well financed. In other words the Charity Commission can prevent competition in areas where there may be any kind of interest, friendships, or other conflict. Or where the Commissioners simply prefer that public funds go to social causes supported by well known personalities, celebrities or even royalty.
For this reason we believe that it is in the public interest that the Charity Commission should keep a Register of officer and board member (potential conflicts of) interests. Those in the decision making tree should be named so that members of the public might inspect a Register to be sure that the appropriate declarations have been made such as to eliminate bias.