About the PBO act

The PBO ACT 2013 is a new ACT to provide for the formations, operations and growth of the Public Benefits Organizations (PBOs); to establish a regulatory and institutional framework within which Public Benefits Organizations can conduct their affairs and for such other connected purposes.

Goal

The goal of the Public Benefits Organizations Act 2013 is to advance a new legal, regulatory and institutional framework for public organizations (PBOs) in Kenya.

Objectives:

  1. To facilitate the formation and growth of the Public Benefits Organizations (PBOs) in order to generally strengthen civil society, promote social welfare and improve the conditions and quality of life for the people of Kenya
  2. To encourage public benefits organizations to maintain high standards of governance and management through effective self-regulation;
  3. To establish an effective regulatory and institutional framework for PBOs;
  4. To promote compliance by Public Benefits Organizations with their legal and statutory obligations
  5.  To promote a spirit of co-operation and shared responsibility within government and among donors and other interested persons in their dealings with Public Benefits Organizations

Principles:

  1. Strong Public Benefits Organizations sector promoting social welfare and improving the conditions and quality of life for the people of Kenya
  2. Adherence and promotion of values of the constitution of Kenya within the Public Benefits Organizations sector;
  3. High standards of governance, transparency and accountability by Public Benefits Organizations
  4. Enhance co-operation between PBOs, Government, Private Sectors and Development Partners;
  5. Statutory and Legal compliance by Public Benefits Organizations

KEY Highlights about PBO Act:

Protection of the freedom of association: The ACT is in line with the spirit of article 36 of the constitution which guarantees the freedom of association which includes the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an association of any kind. The implementation of the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act will effectively contribute towards realization of these rights

Basis for existence of a variety of types of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs): It allows different types and forms of CSOs doing public benefit work to operate under one Single Act- the Public Benefits Organizations (PBO) Act,

Framework For collaborations between the Government and PBOs:  Section 67 of the Act provides and institutional framework for the principled partnership between the Government and PBOs including at all levels;

Voluntary Self- Regulation by PBOs; Allows the Public Benefits Organizations to determine standards, certification and adherence to professional codes of conduct;

Complaints and Redress Mechanisms: Part V provides for establishment of an independent Dispute Tribunal,

Good Governance, Transparency, and Accountability of PBOs:  Prescribes minimum provisions to be included in the governing documents of Public Benefits Organizations. The Act also provides for financial transparency and reporting by PBOs;

Leadership and Integrity: It advances and demands good leadership and accountability from the PBSs and the regulator in line with the spirt of Chapter Six of the new constitution on Leadership and Integrity.

Establishment of an Independent Registration and Regulation Agency: Section 34-36 of the PBO Act outlines a rigorous process for the selection of the members of the governing body of the PBO regulatory Authority in line with the provisions of the constitution.

Definition Of the Public Benefits Organization: Section 5 pf the PBO Act defines PBO as ‘a voluntary membership or non-membership group of individuals or organizations, which is autonomous, non-partisan, non-profit making engaged in public benefit activities”

Who’s Involved?

Several Civil Society (CSOs) in Kenya, under the umbrella of the CSO Reference Group, have been spearheading a campaign to mobilize CSOs to participate in the development and implementation of a new enabling legal, regulatory and institutional framework for CSO in Kenya that do public benefit work.