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Re updating of booklet 'The Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit'

Graham Senior-Milne made this Freedom of Information request to Charity Commission for England and Wales

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

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Graham Senior-Milne

Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,

On the 'Contents' page you state: 'This guidance is currently under review. It no longer forms part of our public benefit guidance and should now be read together with our set of 3 public benefit guides. It will remain available to read until we publish replacement guidance.' This review seems to have been going on for over 3 years now (going by the dates in the document properties).

Is the booklet 'The Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit' still under review? If so, can you:
1. Tell me when you expect the review to be completed and replacement guidance published?
2. Provide me with copies of any documents relating to 1?

If the booklet is not still under review can you:
1. Tell me when the decision was made not to continue with the review?
2. Confirm that you are not intending to issue a new version?
3. Provide me with copies of any documents relating to the decision not to continue with the review?
4. Confirm whether in making your decision not to continue with the review you have taken into account all relevant ECHR case law?

Yours faithfully,

Graham Senior-Milne

FOI Requests, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for submitting your Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the
Charity Commission. We will respond within 20 working days.
 
If you have used this email address for a query that is not an FOI
request, we will not reply.
 
Please contact [1]Charity Commission to resubmit general enquiries.
 
This is an automated email. Please do not reply to this email.
 
 
  ________________________________  
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Business Assurance FOI (Queue), Charity Commission for England and Wales

 

 

Dear Graham Senior-Milne

Re: C-457242

I write in response to your email of 17 April 2017 in which you requested
the following information:

On the 'Contents' page you state: 'This guidance is currently under
review. It no longer forms part of our public benefit guidance and should
now be read together with our set of 3 public benefit guides. It will
remain available to read until we publish replacement guidance.' This
review seems to have been going on for over 3 years now (going by the
dates in the document properties).

Is the booklet 'The Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit' still
under review? If so, can you:
1. Tell me when you expect the review to be completed and replacement
guidance published?
2. Provide me with copies of any documents relating to 1?

If the booklet is not still under review can you:
1. Tell me when the decision was made not to continue with the review?
2. Confirm that you are not intending to issue a new version?
3. Provide me with copies of any documents relating to the decision not to
continue with the review?
4. Confirm whether in making your decision not to continue with the review
you have taken into account all relevant ECHR case law?

 

I have considered your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The ‘Advancement of Religion for the Public Benefit' guidance document is
still under review.

In response to questions 1 and 2 above, we do not hold any recorded
information which falls within the scope of your request.

I hope my response has been clear. If you think our decision is wrong, you
can ask for it to be reviewed. Such requests should be submitted within
three months of the date of our response and should be addressed to the
Charity Commission at PO Box 211, Bootle, L20 7YX  (email:
[1][email address]). More information about
our Freedom of Information Act review service can be found on the
following link on our website:  
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....

 

If, after this, you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision.  Generally,
the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our review
procedure.  The ICO  can be contacted at the Information Commissioner’s
Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF (email:
[3][email address].)

 

Yours sincerely

Rebyn Buleti
Charity Commission

W: [4]https://www.gov.uk/charity-commission

[5]Twitter Follow us on Twitter | @ChtyCommission
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Graham Senior-Milne

Dear Business Assurance FOI (Queue),

s.11 Charities Act 2011 requires the Commission to ‘issue guidance in pursuance of its public benefit objective (see paragraph 2 of section 14).’ Now, it necessarily follows from the fact that the charitable purposes listed in s.3 include ‘the advancement of religion’ that the guidance must explain what is meant by the term ‘advancement of religion’ and how charities meeting that purpose (that is, religious charities) can meet the public benefit criteria. Since the Act differentiates charities according to their classification, the legal guidance issued by the Commission must do the same because otherwise the different classifications of charity cannot know how they can meet the public benefit requirement in terms of their own charitable purposes. It is common sense, isn’t it? If a law says: ‘To get x you must be y or z.’, any guide to getting x must explain what y and z mean. In other words, in failing to provide guidance as to how religious charities can meet the public benefit requirement, the Commission is breaking the law; that is, s.11 Charities Act 2011.

YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW.

The point here is that you say that you are still in the process of updating the guidance. This means that you have accepted that it is necessary for you to do so - under the law. Now, you say you do not have one single piece of information you can provide. In other words, you haven't produced a single piece of paper in what must be over 4 years now. Do you call this 'doing a review'? I call it 'doing nothing'.

Clearly, you have a legal obligation but you have just admitted DOING NOTHING TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE COMPLYING WITH THAT OBLIGATION.

I will apply for a judicial review on the basis:

1. You have a legal duty to provide guidance.
2. The delay is unreasonable and you have no excuse for it.

I will seek an order ordering you to produce guidance (i.e. do your job), unless you confirm that you will produce such guidance within 6 months.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Senior-Milne

FOI Requests, Charity Commission for England and Wales

Thank you for submitting your Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the
Charity Commission. We will respond within 20 working days.
 
If you have used this email address for a query that is not an FOI
request, we will not reply.
 
Please contact [1]Charity Commission to resubmit general enquiries.
 
This is an automated email. Please do not reply to this email.
 
 
  ________________________________  
On track to meet your filing deadline? Charities have ten months from
their financial year end to file their Annual Return and Accounts. Find
out more at [2]www.charitycommission.gov.uk. Remember to file on time and
use our online services.

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really
need to.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
2. http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/

Litigation and Review, Charity Commission for England and Wales

4 Attachments

Dear Graham Senior-Milne

Our reference: C-459233

 

We write in response to your email below.

 

As your email threatens a judicial review against the Charity Commission,
it has been passed to us in the Commission’s Litigation and Review Team.

 

If you wish to pursue a judicial review, we ask that you first comply with
the High Court’s ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review’.  This sets out
the steps you should take before issuing Court proceedings, and is
available at the following website: 
[1]https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/proced....

 

In particular, if you intend to pursue a judicial review claim, we ask
that you first send us a letter before claim as described in the Protocol,
which includes the information specified in the Protocol.  We will then
consider your letter and provide you with a letter of response under the
Protocol.

 

The High Court has also produced a guide to judicial review, which you may
find helpful.  A copy is available here: 
[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

 

If you do decide to send us a letter before claim, please send this to our
Litigation and Review Team as follows:

 

Either by post to:

 

Litigation and Review Team

The Charity Commission for England and Wales

PO Box 211

Bootle

L20 7YX

 

Or by email to:

 

[3][email address]

 

These are also the contact details that should be used for service of any
Court or Tribunal proceedings on The Charity Commission for England and
Wales.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Litigation and Review Team

The Charity Commission for England and Wales

t: 0300 066 9197 | e: [4][email address]
| w: [5]www.gov.uk/charity-commission

[6]cid:image001.jpg@01D1D833.501525F0 Follow us on Twitter |
@ChtyCommission

 

[7]cid:image004.jpg@01D1D833.501525F0

 

 

---------------

 

 

Dear Business Assurance FOI (Queue),

s.11 Charities Act 2011 requires the Commission to ‘issue guidance in
pursuance of its public benefit objective (see paragraph 2 of section
14).’ Now, it necessarily follows from the fact that the charitable
purposes listed in s.3 include ‘the advancement of religion’ that the
guidance must explain what is meant by the term ‘advancement of religion’
and how charities meeting that purpose (that is, religious charities) can
meet the public benefit criteria. Since the Act differentiates charities
according to their classification, the legal guidance issued by the
Commission must do the same because otherwise the different
classifications of charity cannot know how they can meet the public
benefit requirement in terms of their own charitable purposes. It is
common sense, isn’t it? If a law says: ‘To get x you must be y or z.’, any
guide to getting x must explain what y and z mean. In other words, in
failing to provide guidance as to how religious charities can meet the
public benefit requirement, the Commission is breaking the law; that is,
s.11 Charities Act 2011.

YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW.

The point here is that you say that you are still in the process of
updating the guidance. This means that you have accepted that it is
necessary for you to do so - under the law. Now, you say you do not have
one single piece of information you can provide. In other words, you
haven't produced a single piece of paper in what must be over 4 years
now.  Do you call this 'doing a review'? I call it 'doing nothing'.

Clearly, you have a legal obligation but you have just admitted DOING
NOTHING TO ENSURE THAT YOU ARE COMPLYING WITH THAT OBLIGATION.

I will apply for a judicial review on the basis:

1. You have a legal duty to provide guidance.
2. The delay is unreasonable and you have no excuse for it.

I will seek an order ordering you to produce guidance (i.e. do your job),
unless you confirm that you will produce such guidance within 6 months.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Senior-Milne

show quoted sections

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Graham Senior-Milne please sign in and let everyone know.