Charity Commission consults on proposals to change Annual Return

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On 22 May 2013 the Charity Commission launched a consultation on proposals to introduce changes to the Annual Return and the content of the Register of Charities for 2014 onwards.

All registered charities with an income of £10,000 and above are currently required to submit an Annual Return, which is used to strengthen the Commission’s regulatory work and keeps the charity’s record on the register up to date for the many members of the public and others who use it.

Last summer the Commission consulted on the nature of information it should collect from charities to inform its wider information strategy, and Lord Hodgson also commented on Annual returns in his review of the Charities Act 2006. The Commission’s new proposals have taken into account the responses it received to the consultation and Lord Hodgson’s recommendations.

The proposals for the new Annual Returns include some new questions will ask for information that should be readily available to charities, including whether the charity has particular policies in place, such as safeguarding vulnerable beneficiaries, and whether the charity pays trustees for carrying out trustee duties.

In addition, charities with an income of £1m and above will no longer be required to complete a Summary Information Return, this being replaced by an optional text box that offers all charities submitting an Annual Return the opportunity to describe their aims for the year and their corresponding achievements, all to be published on the register.

Jane Hobson, Head of Policy at the Charity Commission said;

“The Annual Return is an important tool that the Commission uses to inform our regulatory work, promote good governance by trustees and make sure that charities are accountable to the public. For all these reasons it’s really important that we get the right balance between the need for charities to share information about themselves, without making the Annual Return too much of a burden. We urge all charities and others with an interest to respond to this consultation.”

The Commission would like to hear from registered charities that complete the Annual Return as well as anyone who uses the online register.

Details of the consultation can be found on the Charity Commission’s revamped website at:

The closing date for responses is Wednesday 17 July 2013.

For information and advice on any aspect of charity accounting please contact Lesley Malkin