charity commission

The Charity Commission 2023 trustee and public trust annual research

The Charity Commission undertakes annual research which relates closely to their statutory objectives, including increasing public trust and confidence in charities, promoting compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations and enhancing the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the wider public.

The 2023 research has confirmed the following key findings:

  • Public Trust: Charities continue to be well regarded and highly trusted, ranking second only to doctors. The research shows that the public are more likely to trust charities that are small, local or where they feel a personal connection to the cause. Charity registration also provides further reassurance to the public.
  • Trustee’s Role: Trustees continue to feel confident that they understand what the public expects of them. Both Trustees and the public generally feel that charities should avoid excessive risk and focus on their core purposes when deciding how to spend funds. Equally, the public feels charities should not be so cautious that they end up simply accumulating money.
  • Charity Commission function: In relation to the Charity Commission’s regulatory function, 81% of trustees who have been in contact with the Commission feel they have been treated fairly. 95% of Trustees are also confident that the Commission will deal appropriately with any wrongdoing. The awareness by Trustees of the Commission’s 5-minute guides has also increased. You can view these guides here or in the Advice & Guidance page on VODA’s website.

Any further queries? VODA can offer support, advice and training to your VCSE group. Please contact VODA’s Core Services Team by telephone on 0191 643 2626 or by email on [email protected].

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Charity Commission urges charities to “listen and learn” when they receive complaints

Charities continue to play a vital role in our society, as they have for centuries. Most charities rely on the goodwill of volunteers, including their trustees, to carry out their work and all charities rely on public goodwill for the special status they hold. Charities’ ethos and purpose is part of what makes them unique. It’s also a factor in why the public has high expectations of them.

The Charity Commission has reviewed complaints and reports about charities that fall below the threshold for regulatory action, to help it, and charities, learn from the matters raised by the public. The review is part of the Commission’s commitment, set out in its 2018 to 2023 strategy, to ensure no complaint is ignored. All complaints about charities contribute to the Commission’s assessment of risks facing charities, even where no direct regulatory action is required.

The Commission says the review revealed that most complaints come from people invested in a charity – including beneficiaries, supporters, volunteers and trustees – and relate to issues that affect them personally. The Commission says that “it isn’t the case that people only complain about a few large household name charities”.

Findings and themes from the review:

  1. People who complain are usually people you know
  2. Be accountable – it’s worth making the effort to explain and to listen properly
  3. Don’t take your status as a charity, and the public’s support, for granted
  4. How you do something is as important as what you do

Read the full review here.

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Guidance for Charities with a Connection to a Non-charity

Charities are being told to ensure the close relationships some enjoy with non-charitable organisations are made clear to people outside their charity and never used to advance non-charitable agendas and interests. Amid concerns that some relationships between charities and non-charities have damaged public confidence in charity, the Charity Commission has published new guidance.

The regulator recognises that many charities work successfully in close partnership with a wide variety of non-charitable organisations, such as trading subsidiaries. These relationships can be crucial in helping a charity deliver on its mission for the public benefit. The new guidance aims to help charities reap the benefits of such relationships while managing the risks carefully.

The new guidance aims to help charities reap the benefits of such relationships while managing the risks carefully. The Commission says the guidance will also allow it, and the public, to better hold charities to account against existing rules.

The new guidance does not set out new rules or regulations, but draws together relevant law and practice in setting out six principles to help trustees ensure their arrangements for working with a linked body secure the charity’s interests and independence.

Access the full guidance here.

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