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Using the Wrong Policy Tools: Education, Charity and Public Benefit

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison Dunn


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A recent decision on the application of public benefit under the Charities Act 2006 sidestepped the political debate surrounding the charitable status of independent fee-charging schools. The broader political context nevertheless underscores the legislative reforms, and this article questions whether the new statutory public benefit requirement has utility as a welfare policy tool in the field of education. It examines the public benefit requirement in charity law against the backdrop of government policy towards education and the broader political agenda for a mixed economy of welfare provision, and argues that the difficulties Labour faced in developing its education policies were replicated in the application of the post-Act public benefit requirement to fee-charging schools. As a result, achieving broader policy goals for widening educational opportunity through public benefit was almost impossible given the regulatory framework and the principles upon which charity law is founded.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dunn A

Publication type: Article

Journal: Journal of Law and Society

Year: 2012

Volume: 39

Issue: 4

Pages: 491-514

Print publication date: 15/11/2012

ISSN (print): 0263-323X

ISSN (electronic): 1467-6478

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6478.2012.00597.x


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