Friday, September 3, 2010
What Happens When the Regulator Runs Out of £?: UK Health Care Charities Dodge Public Benefit Scrutiny
ThirdSector reports that the Charity Commission for England and Wales has canceled planned public benefit assessments of health care charities because of limited resources. In the wake of the Charity Commission's issuance of new guidance on the "public benefit" requirement for charities (see this report), the Commission announced planned public benefit assessments of a limited sample of charities, including hospitals and other health care entities. While the Commission has completed sixteen public benefit assessments of independent schools, religious charities, arts charities, and others, and has begun assessments of four sports and recreation charities, it has decided not to pursue assessments of health care charities, citing "limited resources." Given the size and complexity of hospitals and other health care charities, it is understandable that such assessments would have been time consuming and costly. Yet especially in light of their heavy level of fee dependence, it also appears unwise. In an era of deficit-fighting, however, such decisions are perhaps to be expected, not only in the UK but in the US and other countries as well.