SINGAPORE - The office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is seeking public feedback on the proposed changes to the Charities Act.
The window for feedback opens from Monday (Aug 21) and will close on Sept 11.
Changes to the Act, which was last amended in 2010, are meant to ensure regulatory policies remain relevant and to enhance the charity sector's governance standards, said the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in a statement on Monday.
There are two key features of the proposed changes:
1. Enhancing the regulatory framework to increase accountability of charities and fund-raisers
The proposed amendments will enhance and update the disqualification regime under the Act. Individuals who fit certain criteria rendering them unfit to hold key positions in charities will be barred from doing so.
Other changes include clarifying the type of penalties that may be imposed for the contravention of regulations concerning Institutions of a Public Character; prescribing rules for electronic filing of forms by charities for greater transparency, and clarifying the definition of "fund-raising appeal" in the Act.
2. Enhancing regulatory powers
The COC's powers will be enhanced so that he can better regulate charities and fund-raising appeals in Singapore. The amendments being proposed include broadening the COC's authority to remove and suspend unfit individuals from their positions in a charity, empowering the COC to suspend improper fund-raising appeals, and enhancing his powers to call for documents and information.
As part of the current review, the office of the COC consulted various stakeholders including the Charity Council. It also conducted a focus group discussion with charity representatives from across the sectors.
They can also e-mail MCCY_Charities@mccy.gov.sg or post to the office of the COC with the following details:
Office of the Commissioner of Charities
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
140 Hill Street, #02-00
Old Hill Street Police Station
Subject: "Consultation on Draft Charities (Amendment) Bill 2017"