Charities Commission Annual Return Update

Many charities have now been through the new Annual Returns process at Charities Commission.  This has been the most significant update to the information required in a number of years and reflects the Commissions aim to increase transparency and accountability.  The most significant changes will occur for the 2018 returns, however some proposals will not become mandatory until 2019 returns.

The first change you will notice is the requirement to update ALL Trustees’ records, a full residential address, phone number and email address is now required to be disclosed, although for Trustees who have no email address there is a check box to declare this rather than create an email account. Trustees can be reassured that there is no change to the information disclosed to the public and only names are displayed; the purpose being to allow the Commission to match Trustee records across different Charities. Until this step is complete you are unable to move on to complete the return.

Additional information regarding the Charity activities is also now disclosed so it is important that the person completing the return has knowledge of or access to this additional information

  • Details of professional or commercial fundraisers employed and whether a contract is in place
  • Details of any Government grant funding (either local or central) including the number and value of such contracts
  • Details of foreign / overseas income including the name of those countries
  • Details of any Trustees who are also Directors of Trading Subsidiaries
  • Details of any Trustee’s who have resigned and taken up a salaried post with the Charity
  • Details of any staff receiving remuneration of £60,000 or more including the number of such staff. The remuneration includes salary, employers NIC, employer pension contributions and benefits in kind
  • Details of the highest paid employee
  • Confirmation that the charity has safeguarding, risk and investment policies and that these are up-to-date
  • Confirmation that Trustees and relevant volunteers have had a DBS check where there are relevant activities

For 2019 there are also further proposals for additional information:

  • For foreign income the value of such income and the source will also become a mandatory disclosure
  • Confirmation that when transferring income overseas a regulated banking system is used
  • Details of the methods used to transfer money overseas and the value of these transfers
  • Confirmation that there are controls in place to monitor overseas expenditure
  • Confirmation that the charity’s risk management policy and procedures adequately address the risks to the charity arising from its activities and/or where it operates

The days of taking information directly from the annual accounts, are now behind us. More detailed information on the changes can be obtained here.