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Charity Commission - Government Department


Charity Commission - Ensures standards among charities


About the Charity Commission

The 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.

The 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.

Registering Charities
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.

Register of Charities
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.

Making Charities Accountable
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 facility.

Equipping 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.

Meeting Their Requirements
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.

Other Organisations
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.

If 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

Lines 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.

If 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.

0845 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,
L69 3UG

0151 7031 555

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