This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Archived Regulatory Case Reports for 2010'.




Regula
R
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egula ory Case R
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eport
ory Case R
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Tegister
omorr ed Charity Name
ow’s People Trust Limited
Regis
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t
egis er
t ed Charity Number xxxx
ered Charity Number 1102759

This is a Regulatory Case Report of the Charity 
Commission’s assessment of concerns raised about the 
contribution of Tomorrow’s People Trust Limited (‘the 
Charity’) to the General Election manifesto of a political 
party. The Commission’s Report is published on 13 August 
2010.

The Charity’s contribution to the manifesto of a political party issued at the time of the General 
Election raised concerns that the Charity may have or may have been seen as providing and 
encouraging general support for a political party. The support of a political party is not permitted 
under charity law, and as such this issue has the potential to impact not just on the work and 
reputation of the Charity, but also on public trust and confidence in charities generally. 

Having regard to the principles of best regulatory practice, the Charity Commission (‘the 
Commission’) has decided to publish this Regulatory Case Report1 on its recent assessment into 
this charity.

This report also identifies issues for the wider sector.
The Charity
1.  Tomorrow’s People Trust Limited was incorporated in January 2004 and is governed by a 
Memorandum and Articles of Association as amended by special resolution dated 18 June 2009. It 
was entered onto the Commission’s Register of Charities on 22 March 2004. 
2.  The Charity’s objects are:
1)  to further the education and training of persons and in particular young persons by providing 
them with opportunities of work experience and of such training facilities and educational 
courses as will enable such persons as aforesaid to acquire and develop professional vocational 
and special skills; and 
2)  such other charitable purposes as the trustees shall from time to time determine.2 
3.  The Charity describes itself as follows:
“An independent employment charity which works nationally with the long-term unemployed, 
helping people overcome personal barriers so that they can move into long-term, sustainable 
jobs. Our objective is to help those who are furthest from the labour market to get and keep a 
job, by preparing them for work and supporting them through their individual return-to-work 
programmes.”

1   More information on Regulatory Case Reports can be found under ‘Our regulatory activity’.
2   The Charity’s objects, as stated in their governing document, are published on the Charity Commission’s website:
  http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/SHOWCHARITY/RegisterOfCharities/CharityFramework.aspx?RegisteredCharityNumber=1102759&Subs 
  idiaryNumber=0 
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4.  The Charity’s accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2009 show an income of £7,981,260 
and expenditure of £7,620,171. The charity’s income includes £6,717,834 funding from regional 
Government Offices, local authorities and the London Development Agency. 
Source of concern
5.  On 19 April 2010 a concern was raised with the Commission about the Charity’s contribution to the 
Conservative Party manifesto3 (‘the Manifesto’). The Manifesto featured comments from Debbie 
Scott4, the Charity’s Chief Executive, about the work of the Charity and the single Work Programme 
of the Conservative Party (‘the Party’), supported by a full page photograph of the Chief Executive. 
6.  The Charity’s contribution to the Manifesto raised concerns for the Commission that in agreeing to 
appear in the Manifesto and supporting Conservative Party policy the Charity was endorsing the 
Party generally. This called into question the Charity’s impartiality and independence from party 
politics. 
7.  The Commission took the view that these issues constituted a potential infringement of the charity 
trustees’ duties and responsibilities and the Commission’s published guidance on charities engaging 
in political activities5, and therefore warranted further examination. 6
Issues Examined
8.  The Commission’s Compliance assessment case6 was opened on 20 April 2010, and concluded 
on 27 May 2010. 
9.  The purpose of the Commission’s assessment was to determine if the Charity had acted 
inappropriately, by directly or indirectly supporting or endorsing the Party by contributing to its 
election manifesto. 
10.  As part of its assessment, the Commission immediately engaged with the Charity in order to 
obtain further information. The Commission also reviewed the extract of the Manifesto which 
featured the photograph and comments of the Charity’s Chief Executive. 
11.  This was the Commission’s first engagement with the Charity regarding concerns of this nature. 
The trustees have co-operated with the Commission’s assessment and accepted the regulatory 
advice and guidance provided.
3   http://media.conservatives.s3.amazonaws.com/manifestomanifesto/cpmanifestomanifesto2010_lowres.pdf 
4   Debbie Scott now Baroness Stedman-Scott was introduced to the House of Lords on 19 July 2010 as a working peer. 
5   Speaking out: Guidance on Campaigning and Political Activity by Charities (CC9) and Charities and Elections.
6  The assessment was conducted in accordance with the Commission’s published Risk and Proportionality Framework for its Compliance work  
  and guidance Complaints About Charities
 (CC47).
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Findings
12.  As a result of its Compliance assessment, the Commission’s findings are as follows:
Legal context
13.  The Commission has published guidance on the extent to which charities can engage in political 
activities. In relation to support for a political party, our guidance is clear that a charity cannot give 
support to any one political party. To support a political party is not in itself a charitable purpose. 
However, a charity may give support to a specific policy which is advocated by a political party. A 
charity cannot give general support to a political party, because all political parties have a range 
of policies. So if a charity endorses a party because it agrees with one policy, it is effectively 
supporting the party as a whole and will be endorsing the party’s wider policies, which are nothing 
to do with the charity’s purposes. While support for a specific policy may be an important way of 
contributing to a charity’s purposes, support for a political party even when it advocates a policy 
that the charity supports, is not open to a charity. A charity cannot give financial support, or support 
in kind, to a political party. 
Summary of events
14.  The Charity was approached by the Party and asked to provide a ‘case study’ for their Manifesto. 
The Charity understood that other charities would also be submitting similar pieces. The Charity 
informed the Commission that their involvement in the Manifesto was to support a specific policy 
– the single Work Programme - and they were not giving broad endorsement to Conservative Party 
policy as a whole. 
15.  The charity informed the Commission that they did not intend to review the Manifesto other than 
the extract containing the Chief Executive’s comments and photograph. The Charity also informed 
the Commission that they were not then given the opportunity to comment on or sign off the 
extract of the Manifesto containing the Chief Executive’s comments and photograph before it was 
published. 
16.  The Charity informed the Commission that the wording and emphasis of the Chief Executive’s 
comments were changed without their knowledge or consent. They advised that the prominence 
and positioning of the Charity’s contribution, including the photograph, in the Manifesto was greater 
than they had anticipated or would have approved. 
17.  The Commission acknowledges that the published version of the Chief Executive’s comments was 
different to the comments that the Charity had submitted. However, the Commission concluded that 
both the submitted and published versions of the Chief Executive’s comments favourably compared 
the Charity’s view on welfare to work strategies with the Party’s single Work Programme policy. 
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18.  Following the publication of the Manifesto, the Charity has raised concerns with the Conservative 
Party about the way in which the Chief Executive’s comments were altered. 
19.  It is clear from our engagement with the Charity, that in agreeing to contribute to the Manifesto, it 
was not the Charity’s intention to provide or encourage support for the Party.
The charity’s decision making
20.  The Charity has a Communications Working Group comprising two trustees, the Chief Executive 
and the Marketing and Communications Director. Under the agreed delegation procedures of the 
Communications Working Group, the decision to contribute to the Manifesto was made by the Chief 
Executive and the Marketing and Communications Director. The trustees were made aware of the 
decision to contribute after the information had been submitted to the Conservative Party. 
21.  The trustees have confirmed that they fully supported the decision that was made to contribute to 
the Manifesto and accept that the comments made by the Charity’s Chief Executive were made for 
and on behalf of the Charity. 
22.  The trustees assert that the purpose of contributing to the Manifesto was to influence the policies 
of the Party in the interest of the charity’s beneficiaries. The trustees told the Commission that they 
believe that the version submitted would not have breached the legal and regulatory requirements 
as set out in the Commission’s published guidance on charities and political activities if, as the 
charity expected, the original text had been used; if it had been accompanied by a thumbnail 
photograph and if the piece had been part of a number of endorsements from other charities.
Evaluation and management of risks 
23.  The Charity did take some steps to manage and mitigate the risks associated with contributing to 
the Manifesto by following their usual practice of also approaching the other major political parties 
to offer to comment on their welfare to work policies. However, none of these offers were accepted. 
24.  The trustees were not able to demonstrate that they, or the delegated group, had sufficiently 
considered and managed all the risks arising from the decision to contribute to the Manifesto. In 
particular, the trustees did not consider the possibility that changes may be made to the content of 
the Charity’s submission or that it may be used for the benefit of the Party rather than that of the 
Charity and its beneficiaries. 
25.  The Commission recognises that certain steps were taken to mitigate the risks to the Charity 
and maintain its political neutrality. However, the Commission concluded that these steps were 
insufficient to protect the Charity’s reputation and independence from party politics. As such, the 
perception of the Charity’s independence and political neutrality has been adversely affected.
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Conclusions
26.  The Commission was unable to see how the trustees could have properly discharged their legal 
duties and responsibilities and complied with the guidance on charities and political activities by 
contributing to the Manifesto. An election manifesto is, by its nature, a party political publication 
which taken as a whole promotes a political party and its policies in order to secure votes in an 
election. Its aim is to present the party in the most favourable light in order to secure votes and 
any material within it, including any contribution by a charity, will be there to further that aim. 
27.  By agreeing to contribute to the Manifesto, the Charity has provided support to the Party 
and this is the case even if the contribution was only intended to support the single Work 
Programme. The Commission was unable to see how this decision would not adversely affect 
the Charity’s independence or fail to be perceived as providing or encouraging support for 
the Party policies as a whole. Appearing within the Party’s manifesto has called the Charity’s 
independence and political impartiality into question because it can be seen to be an 
endorsement of the wider policies of the Party.
28.  In the Commission’s view the decision to contribute to the Manifesto was both high risk and 
novel and as such it was inappropriate for this to be delegated. This decision should have been 
considered by the full board of trustees, although given the circumstances it could not have 
been approved, even by the full board of trustees. 
Outcome
29.  The Commission provided the Charity with advice and guidance regarding the legal and regulatory 
requirements that must be complied with by charities and the risks associated with any 
engagement within the political environment. In particular, the Charity was made aware of the 
importance of protecting its independence and perceptions of its independence in its links and 
associations with any political parties. The Commission has received assurances that the Charity 
strives to remain independent of party politics at all times. 
Issues for the wider sector
30.  It is a fundamental principle that charities must remain independent from party politics and cannot 
give support to a political party, politician or candidate.
31.  During an election period, the need for impartiality and balance is intensified, and charities must 
take particular care when undertaking any activities in the political arena to ensure that the 
charity’s independence is maintained and that there is no perception that its independence is being 
adversely affected by the charity’s activities.
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32.  Contributing to an election manifesto or any party political publication would have the inevitable 
result of providing or encouraging support for a particular political party, or at the very least, the 
perception of doing so. As a charity cannot support or encourage support for any political party, the 
Commission is unable to see how a charity could demonstrate that it had sufficiently considered and 
managed all the risks arising from a decision to contribute to an election manifesto or party political 
publication. 
33.  It is permissible for a charity to seek to influence the policies of a political party or parties where 
this will contribute to the delivery of its own charitable purposes. Where a charity’s policy position 
on a particular issue Is similar to or coincides with that of one of the political parties, it is also 
acceptable for the charity to continue to campaign on that issue and advocate its adoption. 
However, where it does so, the charity must emphasise its independence from any political party 
advocating the same policy and do nothing to encourage support for any political party. 
34.  During election periods, charities must steer clear of explicitly comparing its views (favourably or 
otherwise) with those of the political parties or candidates taking part in the election. The key point 
is that whilst charities can attempt to influence public opinion on a particular issue, if it furthers or 
supports their objects, they must leave it to the electorate to make their own decisions about how 
to vote. 
35.  The independent nature of the charitable sector is of fundamental importance to society, and is 
greatly valued by the public. Trustees of charities which engage in political activity, or with people 
in the political arena, should pay particular attention to the inherent risks associated with the nature 
of the work they undertake. Where risks are identified, trustees need to be satisfied that such risks 
can be sufficiently managed or mitigated. Whilst charities can engage with political parties and 
politicians, in doing so they must always ensure the political neutrality of the work they do. This 
means that a charity cannot champion or otherwise support the Government, one political party 
and/or discredit another. 
36.  It is legitimate for trustees to delegate decisions regarding the day-to-day management of a 
charity to staff and others. However, where they do so, the trustees must always retain ultimate 
responsibility and accountability for all decisions that are made. Trustees must ensure they have 
established clear and robust reporting procedures and lines of accountability. High risk and novel 
decisions should not be delegated but considered and authorised by the trustees. Appropriate 
guidelines should be drawn up to help those making decisions on delegated committees to assess 
what is likely to be high risk or novel.
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You can obtain large-print versions
of this publication from the Charity
Commission on 0845 300 0218
Charity Commission
Telephone:  0845 300 0218
Typetalk:  0845 300 0219
Website: 
www.charitycommission.gov.uk