The Charity Commission (the Commission) has recently announced its business plan for 2022/23 setting out its main aims.
The Commission remains committed to putting the public interest at the very centre of its approach to regulating charities, however, they now want to be more proactive.
Its priorities for the year ahead cover three main areas, which are:
- Improving their ability to regulate
The Commission is seeking to expand the data it holds about charities and to use this data to seek out wrongdoing and regulatory issues in a more proactive manner. A review of the way in which charities are classified is also planned.
As part of this, a consultation is due to be launched around changes to the annual returns that charities submit to the Commission each year. Work to review the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) that applies to charity accounts will continue.
In an effort to free up more of its staff to deal with more complex casework with charities that need support or may be responsible for wrongdoing, the Commission is seeking to start automating some of its more routine processes.
- To increase engagement with trustees and support them in their work
The business plan sets out a three-year vision which the Commission says will fundamentally shift how it communicates with charities by engaging with the trustees individually rather than the charity as a whole.
The first step, launching in 2022/23, involves campaigns to help all trustees understand their responsibilities and the guidance that is available to them from the Commission.
- To strengthen the Commission
In order to deliver its other two priorities, the Commission accepts that it will need to make changes to how it works and commit to developing its people and culture to support its ambition.
The Commission will be arranging an external review of its own governance work working practices – including its complaints-handling policy, as well as seeking to further improve its digital services.
For some time now the Commission has seen its purpose as ensuring that charities thrive to build the public’s trust in the sector. The Commission has stated that they will now:
“…seek out a more personalised relationship with trustees, tailoring our communications and enabling trustees to share appropriate and timely information about themselves and their charities with us. In doing so, we will together drive-up compliance with regulatory requirements and increase transparency, improving the sector’s accountability to the public.”
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