We believe in Jersey’s potential to be a benchmark for a modern compassionate community. At the heart of this are our charities and community groups and those people who give up their time, energy and expertise to help others. In our island community we rely heavily on the services of our charities; the social benefits of voluntary action are well known and the sector contributes much to the economy as employers, service providers, and early interventionists that save tax payers millions of pounds. It is essential, therefore, that the development of civil society is high on the agenda of every States Member.
Our ‘State of the Sector’ survey revealed that there are more than 535 voluntary and community organisations active in Jersey, generating in excess of £80m annually. More than 11,000 islanders volunteer their time for charity. These numbers are sure to rise with the advent of Charities Law and the charities register which opened on 1st May. The Law will put in place a framework that will enable our charities to flourish and will encourage the growth of the philanthropic environment. Given all this, surely it is time for a Civil Society Minister within the ranks of government?
Deputorial results can be found here
Under Charities (Jersey) Law, you risk losing (or not being approved for) your registered charity status should you engage in activities that advance a political purpose or promote a candidate for election. This is because these are neither a charitable purpose nor a purpose which is ancillary or incidental to a charitable purpose.
It is important that we retain our independence from party politics, this is the guiding principle in the law and vital if we are to continue to be valued by the general public and effective in bringing about change for social good.
Here are some dos and don’ts for charities at election time:
- In any publicity, a charity may voice its views on the issues that directly relate to its mission and charitable purpose (the reason why you exist). However, you must not make direct comparisons between the views of the charity and those of any candidate. Whilst you can attempt to persuade public opinion on the issues important to your charitable aims (such as the alleviation of poverty, the advancement of education, the preservation of the environment) you must ensure you leave it up to the electorate as to how they vote on the day.
- Your charity can publish the views of the candidates and any party if they relate to your charitable aims (in order to raise public interest), but you must not encourage support for an individual candidate or party.
- Your charity must not endorse a candidate or political party and you must not donate any funds or support to their campaign. Charities are unable to assist any candidate or party with their election campaigns (such as distributing leaflets, putting up posters, wearing rosettes etc).
- Charities are able to approach the candidates for their opinion on the issues important to them and their aims, but charities must not be seen to be associated with that candidate or party.
For further guidance, publications from the Charity Commission for England & Wales can be found here:
How do charitable organisations in Jersey benefit from higher voter registration?
1. We create a more representative States Assembly
2. Voter engagement gives us a greater chance of having our issues addressed
3. It raises our profile
4. It gives the communities we serve a voice
5. Voter engagement efforts build stronger charities
There is still time to register to vote on 16th May. Don't let others decide the issues that matter. Please encourage your communities to vote.