The importance of wholly charitable objectives

Last month the Charity Commission published its decision refusing to register the Countryside Alliance as a charity. The Alliance applied to register as a charity with six objects. An application for charity registration will only be successful if ALL of its objects are charitable, and can be demonstrated are ALL are for the benefit of the public. Here are the six. See if you can tell which where acceptable:

Object 1:

Promote the conservation, protection and improvement of the physical and natural environment (particularly in each case the rural environment) by supporting access and conservation projects and programmes that protect features of wildlife, flora and fauna in the British countryside generally and responsible and sustainable use of these environments.

This object was accepted as charitable.

Object 2:

Promote agriculture, game and food production for the public benefit.

This object was not accepted to be charitable, despite the promotion of agriculture being charitable, because the Charity Commission was not persuaded that the way that the Countryside Alliance promoted the production of game was in the public interest.

Object 3:

Preserve, protect and promote the heritage and practice of activities relating to wildlife, the countryside, wildlife management including hunting, shooting and fishing together with the management of the natural environment.

This object was found to not be exclusively charitable, too broad and uncertain.

Object 4:

Educate the public on subjects pertaining to the conservation, protection and enjoyment of the countryside and the history, heritage and practices of agriculture and the management of the physical and natural environment and to conduct or commission research into such practices and management, publishing the useful results of such research.

The Commission did not consider  the Alliance was furthering the fourth object in a way that was exclusively charitable for the public benefit. Materials that the Alliance produced on hunting and shooting were not balanced educational materials, but promoted a single viewpoint .

Object 5:

Promote sustainable development (meaning development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs) for the benefit of the public by:
a. The preservation, conservation and the protection of the environment and the prudent use of natural resources;
b. Conducting or commissioning research and publishing the useful results of such research;

This object was found to be charitable.

Object 6:

Relieve need and disadvantage, particularly in relation to rural economies and communities.

This object was considered unclear, uncertain and too broad.


Preparing the objects clause for charities requires careful thought. If you are preparing to register as a charity, or it is time to review your current constitution, please contact us for assistance.