Commission - Ensures standards among charities
the Charity Commission
Role of the Charity Commission
Charities are part of British life and range from small groups meeting
local needs with few resources to the well-known major charities
with budgets of millions. Whatever their size or purpose, an essential
requirement of all charities is that they operate for the public
benefit and independently of government or commercial interests.
The job of the Charity Commission is to ensure that this happens.
Charity Commission for England and Wales is established by law as
the regulator and registrar of charities in England and Wales. Their
aim is to provide the best possible regulation of these charities
in order to increase charities’ efficiency and effectiveness
and public confidence and trust in them. Their publication "The
Charity Commission and Regulation" describes in more detail
their values and how they operate as a regulator.
Most charities in England and Wales have to register with the Charity
Commission. If you think that your organisation is a charity or
if you plan to set up a charity, call their contact centre on 0845
300 0218. More information on registering as a charity can be found
on their website under Registering A Charity.
The Charity Commission is responsible for maintaining the Register
of Charities, which you can view on their website, or at any of
their offices. You can find more information about using the Register
in their publication CC45.
Charities with yearly incomes over £10,000 must by law send
the Charity Commission their accounts and report every year within
ten months of the end of their year-end. These are publicly available
and CC45 the Register of Charities - Information and services available
tells you how to get hold of these. The accounts help people to
inform themselves about individual charities. They use them (together
with the Annual Return which charities in this income bracket also
have to complete within the same 10 month deadline) to identify
areas where they can help a charity improve. They take seriously
the deadlines for providing them with this information and more
information on this is available on their "Meeting Our Requirements"
pages and they name charities that have seriously defaulted on these
legal obligations on their "Defaulting Charities" finder
Charities To Work Better
The Charity Commission does this by providing advice and guidance
to 24,000 charities each year, in addition to the 250,000 calls
to their Contact Centre and 12 million hits on their website where
they publish all their publications, other useful guidance and operational
guidance. They also visit several hundred larger charities every
year, as part of their Review Visits programme, and modernise charities
by making schemes. Their programme of Regulatory Reports highlights
good practice to help charities improve their own performances and
learn lessons from others.
The Charity Commission aims to identify and resolve problems with
individual charities at an early stage. But while the amount of
deliberate fraud or dishonesty within charities is low, the commission
has strong legal powers to investigate and deal with it when it
occurs. Their main priority is to ensure the charity is back on
track to carry out its work for the future. They publish reports
of all their inquiries to help other charities learn lessons. People
with concerns about a charity should read their publication CC47
Complaints About Charities to see if their concern is something
they can address and, if so, how to raise it with them.
They can’t do it all and their Useful Links page has details
of other regulators (for example, the Inland Revenue or the Housing
Corporation) who are responsible for overseeing specific aspects
of charities’ operations or specific groups of charities.
There are also links to the websites of a number of other bodies
who can provide training, advice, grants and other resources.
You Think The Charity Commission Have Got It Wrong
If you have a complaint about the standard of service you receive,
they have a complaints procedure. If you are dissatisfied with a
decision make, you can in certain cases ask them to review it or
appeal to the High Court.
0845 3000 218
are open from 8.00am to 8.00pm weekdays and 9.00am to 1.00pm Saturdays,
except national holidays.
Our busiest times of the day are between 9:00am - 5:00pm each weekday.
If your enquiry is not time critical you may wish to phone them
outside of their busy periods.
you want to speak to them in a language other than English, their
telephone interpreting service covers over 150 languages.
Just tell them which language you wish to speak and within a minute
or so an interpreter will be connected to your call.
3000 219 Textphone service for hearing and speech impaired callers.
Further information and instructions on the Textphone service are
available on their website.
Charity Commission Direct,
PO Box 1227,
0151 7031 555