Clauses 17 to 23 set out a number of reforms that will make it easier for charities to make disposals of charity land.
In particular clause 20 expands the range of professionals who a charity can seek advice from in meeting its statutory obligations to include fellows of the National Association of Estate Agents and fellows of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers.
Disposal of land can present a particularly challenging and time-consuming legal process, so this package of measures is welcome.
The government rejected an additional recommendation to repeal section 121 of the Charities Act 2011, which would have removed the statutory requirement to give public notice of the disposal of designated land, and consider responses.
While we recognise that requirements to give public notice of the intention to designate land can be burdensome, we acknowledge that it is a useful process to follow on what can become contentious issues where trustees may not always fully understand the implications, and understand why the government chose to reject the Law Commission’s recommendation 18 to repeal section 121 of the Charities Act 2011. However, as the Charity Commission is able to exempt charities from this requirement, we think it could be helpful to develop a statutory framework that would set out where charities may set aside these requirements for low risk disposals, without requiring the permission of the Charity Commission.