Changes to the Charity Commission charity register - what does it mean for trustees?

26 November 2018 | Applicable law: England and Wales

The Charity Commission provides an online service where charities can quickly and easily update this information and has recently announced changes to improve this service.

Charity trustees have a legal obligation to keep their charity's information on the Charity Commission’s register accurate and up-to-date. The Charity Commission also requests details from trustees for its own internal records and processes.

We note that currently, trustees are able to use a 'display name' on the charity register, instead of their full legal name. However, from 1 April 2019 this feature will be withdrawn, and a trustee's full legal name will be publicly visible. If this would cause personal danger to a trustee, they can apply for a dispensation from the requirement.

Any pre-existing dispensation for a trustee displaying their legal name on the register will automatically remain in place. For those who need to apply or re-apply the Charity Commission has updated its guidance on how to do so.

Trustees seeking or holding dispensations should note in particular the approach taken to the display of names in charity accounts, annual reports and governing documents. The Charity Commission now places the responsibility on trustees to check whether their names are removed from these documents where they hold a dispensation and, in some cases, to contact them for further advice.

Charities should also note that they must provide an email address for each trustee (unless a trustee does not have one). However, this address this will only be used by the Commission to contact a trustee regarding an on-going case about a charity, or to provide regulatory alerts.

This document (and any information accessed through links in this document) is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from any action as a result of the contents of this document.


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