Bring charities under the OIA!

The Telegraph reports:

Charities that administer millions of pounds of public funds will be subject to Freedom of Information laws in wake of Kids Company collapse, under plans being developed by ministers.

Ministers want to extend FOI powers to the charity sector to allow members of the public to keep track of the way government grants are being spent.

At present charities are exempted from FOI laws despite receiving tens of millions of pounds in grants from the Government.

I’d like to see this in NZ.

If an NGO or charity (or business) is say over 90% funded by the taxpayer, they should be seen as a de facto agent of the state, and the Official Information Act should apply to them.

Matthew Hancock, a Cabinet Office minister who is leading a review of FOI in Whitehall, is driving the changes to bring greater transparency to how public money is spent in the charitable sector.

The changes, which could be in place as early as next year, would shed new light on misuse of public funds and waste.

Mr Hancock told The Daily Telegraph: “I have campaigned for transparency in many different ways and driven the open data agenda, because transparency brings accountability and improves value for money, so we should look a ways that FOI should be extended.”

I think improving value for money is key, and we spend a lot of taxpayer money on charities, without knowing how much value we get.

The plans were welcomed by campaigners for greater transparency in the charity sector.

Gina Miller, founder of the True and Fair Foundation said, ‘There is no denying that the charity sector plays a pivotal role in ensure a true and fair society.

“But it also needs to operate with transparency, accountability and be open to scrutiny.

Charities get both special tax status, and a lot of taxpayer funding, so some transparency is a good thing.

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