Annual return changes
The Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) has held a consultation on the content of the annual return, proposing a number of changes to aid their regulation of the sector. The consultation has now concluded and the responses are still being analysed, but it seems clear that charities will have to answer a significant number of additional questions as part of their annual reporting to the Commission.
For the first time there will be the ability for the annual return to include questions designed to ascertain the charity’s ability to respond to major external changes. CCEW clearly wants to be able to better assess any threats to the sector from events recently seen such as the COVID pandemic or the Ukraine crisis.
Some of the other key proposed changes include:
- Identifying charities that are dependent on key supporters for a significant proportion of their income.
- Improving clarity on whether trustees have been paid by the charity or any connected organisations for the supply of goods and/or services.
- Requiring greater information on grants paid to individuals and other charities, highlighting whether any of those grants were to connected parties.
- Details of how overseas income was paid to the charity.
- Providing details on the premises from which the charity delivers services.
- Details of property belonging to unincorporated charities that is held by custodian trustees other than the Official Custodian.
- The location of any websites that are hosted outside the UK.
- Details of any wider organisations that the charity may be a member of.
- Details of any trading subsidiaries that have been dissolved.
- Information on the number of employees a charity has both in the UK and overseas, and the total payroll cost.
Once CCEW have completed their review of the consultation responses, new annual return regulations will come into force that will apply to financial years commencing on or after 1 January 2023.