The above consultation is the second part of a two-year project that is reviewing the key information that we collect and display from charities.

The annual return is a key regulatory tool that is used for two main purposes:

  1. It enables the Commission to collect information about charities that it can use to identify issues of concern, either in specific charities or areas of broader risk across the charity sector. 
  2. It is also the source of much of the information that is displayed on the Register of Charities – a key driver to allow the public and donors to find out more information about charities.

The Commission’s intention is to shift to a more dynamic annual return, that is better targeted and easier to use for charities – those charities that are smaller and have more simple operating structures will answer fewer questions, whereas those that are larger and more complex will be required to answer more.

The consultation also proposes some changes to the questions that are being asked, including the addition of some new questions and the removal of others. These changes will help ensure that the questions reflect the priority risk areas in our strategic plan and help us tackle new regulatory risks as they emerge, we also hope they will strengthen the sector’s accountability and provide information that the public and others expect to be able to see.

For each new question they have considered how the information will help meet a regulatory aim and further their statutory function. They are also mindful of balancing these needs with the need not to create an undue additional burden on charities.

Further changes made to the service itself, in line with the improvements across their digital services, will mean that the annual return is easy-to-use and intuitive for charities regardless of their size and structure. 

The consultation will close on 24 November 2017, 5pm.  Access here.