Plaid Cymru calls for establishment of Wales Charity Commission


Third Sector must be protected from AWEMA scandal

Plaid Cymru AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, has called on the Welsh government to act now to protect the third sector in Wales from the fall out of the AWEMA scandal. The Plaid Cymru AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr is calling for the establishment of a distinct Welsh Charity Commission in order to improve transparency and accountability in the wake of the AWEMA scandal. He said that the constitutional set up of the commission should include clear guidelines on political impartiality and stipulate the need for a transparent register of political affiliation of senior figures.


Charity law is devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland but not to Wales. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own Charity commissions, while charities in Wales remain under the control of the Charity Commission for England and Wales.


Plaid Cymru AM Rhodri Glyn Thomas said:


"The knock on effects of the AWEMA scandal could be devastating both for the third sector and for our young democracy. It is vital that lessons are learned and that swift and decisive action is taken by the government in order to ensure that such abuse of the system is not repeated in the future. A Charity commission for Wales could play an important role in protecting the third from the fall out of the AWEMA scandal and could aid the development of a civic society that complements our fledgling democracy.


"Devolution in Wales has led to the expansion of the voluntary and charity sectors which play a significant role in Welsh democracy. I believe that the time is now ripe for a Charity Commission for Wales to be established, so that charity regulation can be governed here in Wales. I am calling on the government to work towards setting up a Charity commission for Wales. As a first step the First Minister needs to make representations to the UK government to have powers over charity law devolved. The Welsh government could then legislate on the disclosure of political affiliations within charities. A key remit of the new Charities Commission should then be to ensure that this was adhered to."