Shining Light on Charities or Looking in the Wrong Place? Regulation-by-Transparency in Canada

Original Paper

Abstract

The nature of charity reporting and transparency is changing significantly; while the longstanding focus on financial reporting remains, there is much greater emphasis on illuminating governance systems and impacts. Regulatory regimes are becoming more polycentric with the expansion of third party watchdogs and emergence of new self-regulatory bodies. With more open access to data, transparency has become an independent force in these regimes. The article outlines a conceptual model of charity regulatory regimes and applies this to analyze recent developments of regulation-by-transparency in Canada. Although the intent of encouraging greater transparency is seldom questioned, this Canadian case study demonstrates how transparency can become politicized, damaging the relationship between the regulator and the charitable sector. In addition, the open data movement means that charities now operate in a world in which neither they nor state regulators control access and use of information.

Keywords

Charity regulation Transparency Charity reporting Co-regulation Canadian charities Regulation-by-transparency 

Résumé

Les rapports d’activité et la notion de transparence sont en train de changer de nature dans le domaine de l’action caritative : même si l’importance donnée de longue date aux rapports financiers subsiste, on constate une insistance de plus en plus grande sur l’attention portée aux systèmes de gouvernance et à leur impact. Les régimes réglementaires sont de plus en plus multipolaires, avec une multiplication des organismes de surveillance tiers et l’émergence de nouvelles structures autorégulées. Parce que l’accès aux données est maintenant plus ouvert, la transparence est devenue une force autonome au sein de ces régimes réglementaires. L’article esquisse un modèle conceptuel des régimes réglementaires des organisations caritatives et fait usage de ce cadre pour analyser les développements récents dans la régulation-par-transparence au Canada. Alors que l’on s’interroge rarement sur ce qui motive les efforts pour promouvoir une plus grande transparence, l’étude du cas Canadien démontre comment la transparence peut être politisée, avec des conséquences néfastes pour les relations entre le régulateur et le secteur caritatif.

Zusammenfassung

Die Art der Berichterstattung und die Transparenz von Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen unterlaufen derzeit wichtigen Änderungen: Während die dauerhafte Konzentration auf die finanzielle Berichterstattung weiterhin bestehen bleibt, rückt jedoch die Erläuterung der Regulierungssysteme und deren Auswirkungen mehr in den Vordergrund. Die Regelwerke werden mit der Zunahme von dritten Überwachungsbeauftragten und der Entwicklung neuer selbstregulatorischer Institutionen zunehmend polyzentrisch. Durch einen freieren Datenzugang hat sich die Transparenz zu einer unabhängigen Einflusskraft in diesen Regelwerken entwickelt. In dem Beitrag wird ein Begriffsmodell für regulatorische Regelwerke für Wohltätigkeitsorganisationen dargestellt und angewandt, um neueste Entwicklungen einer auf Transparenz begründeten Regulierung in Kanada zu untersuchen. Obwohl die Absicht zur Förderung erhöhter Transparenz selten in Frage gestellt wird, zeigt diese kanadische Fallstudie, wie die Transparenz politisiert werden und der Beziehung zwischen den Regulierungsbehörden und dem gemeinnützigen Sektor schaden kann.

Resumen

La naturaleza de la información y de la transparencia de las organizaciones benéficas está cambiando de manera significativa. Aunque permanece el foco de atención de siempre sobre la información financiera, existe un énfasis mucho mayor sobre la puesta en evidencia de los sistemas de gobernanza y los impactos. Los regímenes reguladores se están volviendo más policéntricos con la expansión de organismos de control terceras partes y el surgimiento de nuevos organismos autorreguladores. Con más acceso abierto a los datos, la transparencia se ha convertido en una fuerza independiente en estos regímenes. El presente documento esboza un modelo conceptual de regímenes reguladores de las organizaciones benéficas y lo aplica para analizar los recientes desarrollos de la transparencia mediante regulación en Canadá. Aunque el propósito de alentar una mayor transparencia raras veces se cuestione, este estudio de caso canadiense demuestra cómo la transparencia puede llegar a politizarse, dañando la relación entre el regulador y el sector de las organizaciones benéficas.

摘要

慈善报告和透明度的本质正发生很大的改变:尽管长期关注财务报告机制,但是对展示管理系统和影响的关注越来越高。随着第三方监督部门和全新自我监督机构的涌现,法规机制正变得越来越多中心。随着更加开放地访问数据,透明度已经成为这些机制的独立力量。本论文概述了慈善监管机制的概念模式,并应用以分析加拿大的最新法规透明度发展。尽管很少质疑鼓励更大透明度的目的,但是本加拿大案例研究还是展示了透明度如何变得政治化,损坏监管机构和慈善机构的关系。

要約

慈善活動の報告と透明性の本質は著しく変化している。長年、財務報告に焦点を当ててきたが、本論文では啓発的な統治システムと影響を一層重視する。規制制度においては、第三者の監視者と新しい自主規制機関の出現の拡大が多極化している。データのアクセスでは、透明性がこれらの統治形態における独立的な力となった。本論文では、慈善活動の規定制度における概念的なモデルについて説明して、カナダでの規則の透明性における最近の進展の分析を行う。高い透明性を求めているにもかかわらず、このカナダの事例研究は、監視委員と慈善活動のセクターとの関係が損なわれて、どのように透明性が政治との結びつきが強いかを示している。

ملخص

طبيعة المعلومات التي تقدمها الجمعيات الخيرية والشفافية تتغير بدرجة كبيرة: في حين أن التركيز على تقديم التقارير المالية منذ فترة طويلة لا يزال، هناك تركيز أكبر على إلقاء الضوء على نظم الحكم و الآثار. الأنظمة التنظيمية أصبحت متعددة المراكز أكثرمع توسع رقابة الطرف الثالث وظهور هيئات تنظيم ذاتي جديدة. مع وصول أكثر إنفتاحا˝ على البيانات، أصبحت الشفافية قوة مستقلة في هذه الأنظمة. البحث يضع الخطوط العريضة لنموذج نظري من الأنظمة الخيرية التنظيمية ويطبق هذا على تحليل التطورات الأخيرة للتنظيم بالشفافية في كندا. على الرغم من أن نادر˝ا ما يسأل القصد من تشجيع قدر أكبر من الشفافية، فإن هذه الدراسة لحالة كندية توضح كيف أن الشفافية يمكن أن تصبح في مجال السياسة ، وتلحق أضرار على العلاقة بين المنظم والقطاع الخيري.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Policy and AdministrationCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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