Charities – Tell Us What You’re Up To!

Research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, suggests that charities need to do more to describe how the work they do has a positive impact on their beneficiaries, and how they go about doing it.

Every year, each UK Registered Charity must produce a Trustees’ Annual Report (TAR).  This report should explain to the public what the charities intentions are and how the people are benefited.  The Charity Commission does produce guidance, which has recently been updated, about what the report should contain and there are also legal requirements that the reports have to meet.

The research suggests that although charities go into a lot of detail about what they do and who they do it for, there is less focus on how they do it and a surprising number of charities do not meet the reporting regulations.

Sheffield Hallam University collected a sample of 1,402 Trustees Annual Reports and gave them each a mark out of five, i.e. five meant that they completely met both legal and the Charity Commission’s requirements, three meant that they did meet the requirements but there was some ambiguity in some areas and anything less than three meant that little regard was shown to the Charity Commission’s requirements.  The research identified smaller charities as achieving less compliance.

It is not safe to assume that the Charity Commission will file away TAR’s without reading them – the Commission really does want to know what is going on.

The Charity Commission has also indicated recently that charity applications will be assessed and rejected more tightly in future with less support to correct problems as a result of reduced resources.  Getting specialist legal advice for setting up a charity and help registering a charity in the UK can reduce the chance of delay and problems arising from rejections.

For help in setting up a charity or more information please contact Business Law Solicitor Daniel Milnes of the Charities Group at Forbes Solicitors on freephone 0800 037 4628 or by email.

Daniel Milnes

About Daniel Milnes

Dan is a Partner and Head of Contracts & Projects. Dan’s blogs cover the areas in which his specialities lie in commercial, regulatory and governance law which cover a broad range of matters dealing with contracts, projects, corporate and group structures, funding and compliance with a range of legal regimes including data protection. This also involves writing and advising on various forms of commercial contracts including joint ventures, development and construction agreements and intellectual property contracts including IT agreements, sponsorships and other rights licensing arrangements.
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