01 July 2014

Consultation on Annual Return

The Charity Commission is looking to make better use of the annual return by obtaining more useful, easily accessible information to assist with its regulatory duties in verifying a charity’s information and identifying any issues which require closer examination.

In line with the recommendations made by the Public Administration Select Committee, the Charity Commission proposes to include the following questions in relation to income and expenditure:

  • How much of your charity’s total expenditure has been on ‘campaigning’ activities?
  • How much of your charity’s income was received from:
  1. Public service delivery?
  2. Private donations?

The Commission does not define ‘campaigning’ or any other terms in the consultation, but says it will provide clear definitions and guidance to help charities provide this information. In any event, these questions will require charities to work out how to track their expenditure, meaning that serious thought will have to be given to operations and organisational policies.

For all CIOs regardless of income and those charities with an income between £10,000 and £500,000 which are not currently required to provide financial information through the annual return, the Commission proposes to collect some key financial information to support its regulatory effectiveness which would also appear on the charities’ register pages.

The Commission is also asking for additional information to help improve good practice and the accountability and transparency of charities. The new questions include:

  • Asking whether the charity has a remuneration policy in place (NB the Commission would not be asking how much senior staff are paid);
  • Asking whether a charity has carried out a review of its financial controls during the reporting year; and
  • At some point in future, the Commission will ask for information which will allow it to independently verify the identity of trustees.

The consultation closes Tuesday, 12 August 2014. Responses can be made using an online survey or by emailing the Charity Commission. For more information: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/about-the-commission/our-research/our-consultations/annual-return-for-2015-information-collected-from-charities/ 

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