Tuesday March 15, 2016
From the 1st April, charities are going to start to seeing some changes. We are going to be a more "targeted" regulator and are starting to nuance our systems and approaches in order to better aim our efforts and energies at the charities and groups of charities that are likely to pose the highest risk to public trust and confidence in the sector.
None of these changes should be particularly tricky or complicated. And from today onwards we will be releasing more detailed information as to how these changes will affect you.
At the heart of all this work is the risk framework that we have developed. This framework identifies the risks we are going to concentrate on (and gives some indication of their relative importance to us at this time). It will change and develop over time, as some risks fall off the framework, and others come to prominence.
What are the key changes that charities will see?
From the 1st of April, we will be asking charities to report any "notifiable events" to us. We want to understand the issues that charities are facing and to offer our support, if it is necessary. We don't want to know about every event, only those that threaten to have a significant impact on the charity or its assets. By doing this we are hoping to contribute to the good governance of a charity. It is not meant to be a stick to beat a charity up with.
Our annual return form
This will change. There won't be an increase in questions for anyone. Indeed, for may charities there will be less. However, the nature of the questions will change, with them being much more about issues of governance. This may feel strange for charities at the start, but our feeling is that most charity trustees should have the information they need to answer these questions at their fingertips.
Publishing reports and accounts
Transparency is a great way of inspiring confidence. From the 1st of April, we will be starting to publish the reports and accounts of charities with an income of over £25,000 and all SCIOs. Charities won't have to do any more, but it is actually an opportunity to get more information out there about their work and the impact it is having.
In addition, during the year, we are going to start to concentrate more on Trustees' Annual Reports. What the public really want to know about charities is what they are doing...what impact they are having. While we have been delighted by the fact that the financial component of the accounts coming to us have improved significantly over the 10 year period, there is still work to be done to try to develop reports that really show the public the effect their money and voluntary time is having. We will be working with the sector (including developing new guidance) to help increase the quality of the narrative reporting of charities.
We are going to concentrate on a different area every day:
Tuesday: Notifiable events
Wednesday: Annual return
Thursday: Risk Framework
Friday: Publishing reports and accounts