Now, this is a good policy idea

Sometime the Poms get things right, not often, but sometimes they do.

Like this new idea to open up charities to their equivalent of the OIA.

Charities that administer millions of pounds of public funds will be subject to Freedom of Information laws in wake of Kids Company collapse, under plans being developed by ministers.

Ministers want to extend FOI powers to the charity sector to allow members of the public to keep track of the way government grants are being spent.

At present charities are exempted from FOI laws despite receiving tens of millions of pounds in grants from the Government.

There was controversy last summer when Kids Company, the high profile charity run by Camila Batmanghelidjh, collapsed despite being handed tens of millions of pounds grants over the past decade.

A report by the National Audit Office found that in all £42 million was handed to the charity since 2001 – far more than the £30million previously thought – from at least six different Government departments.

Matthew Hancock, a Cabinet Office minister who is leading a review of FOI in Whitehall, is driving the changes to bring greater transparency to how public money is spent in the charitable sector.  

The changes, which could be in place as early as next year, would shed new light on misuse of public funds and waste.

Mr Hancock told The Daily Telegraph: “I have campaigned for transparency in many different ways and driven the open data agenda, because transparency brings accountability and improves value for money, so we should look a ways that FOI should be extended.”

The new powers would be brought in by an amendment to Government legislation and require a vote by MPs in the House of Commons.

The Government is already conducting a review of FOI which has led to fears that its scope will be scale back, although Mr Hancock is understood to be keen to extend the use of FOI.

The plans were welcomed by campaigners for greater transparency in the charity sector.

Gina Miller, founder of the True and Fair Foundation said, ‘There is no denying that the charity sector plays a pivotal role in ensure a true and fair society.

“But it also needs to operate with transparency, accountability and be open to scrutiny.

“There is no reason why the FOI rules should not apply to all sectors. All donors, public, corporate and private need to have the information to judge whether their money is being properly spent.”

That would also apply to all the health troughers and all their lobbying activities.

The other necessary step would be to make parliamentary services spending transparent as well.


– The Telegraph.

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