Bill allows Charities Act to be modernised
Procedures to register charities are to be overhauled in the next financial year, the Minister of Home Affairs has announced.
Walton Brown said a first phase would allow the transfer of data to a secure online database “accessible for the public search of electronic records, retrieval of information and printing”.
Mr Brown added: “Charity data will include information currently available under the Pati legislation such as new applications and re-registrations, charity financials, new registrations, approved or deferred, re-registrations, approved or deferred, new registrations, denied and re-registrations denied, names of directors and trustees, and charity commissioner decisions.
“The availability of electronic records is intended to shorten search times and increase the reliability of access to available, charitable resources.”
Mr Brown was speaking during the Budget debate on Home Affairs on Wednesday.
He said the second phase would allow prospective charities to apply electronically for a temporary licence.
He added: “Further, charities seeking to re-register will be able to pay the annual re-registration fee and submit the annual report, update charity trustee declaration, attach financials, attach public benefit and or vulnerable person policy and make amendments to the charity file online and in real time to ensure that charity records remain current.
“Potential donors and persons seeking charitable resources will experience shorter search times and enhanced search results, particularly to define charity categories.”
Mr Brown said that as part of the ministry’s drive to upgrade its technology, “significant” steps had also been taken to replace the border management system used to screen passengers at the airport.
And he explained that the ministry would push ahead with plans to convert paper files to electronic records and introduce online applications.
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