Charity Commission consults staff over reduction in regulatory role

Regulator says new approach will be about giving responsibility to trustees of charities and 'reducing the commission's regulatory engagement'

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has asked its staff to look for ways of reducing its regulatory role and giving more responsibility to charity trustees.

The regulator has asked a group of staff to review the commission's own approach to regulation and the tasks that it is legally required to carry out. They will make recommendations for ways in which its regulatory role could be reduced.

The move is part of a wide-ranging restructure at the commission in response to a cut from its budget of more than a quarter, from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.

A spokeswoman for the commission said it was likely that the regulator's role in approving charities' activities would be reduced as a result of the new approach.

"Charities often come to us to ask us for permission to do things that they do not need our permission to do, because they like to have reassurance," she said. "Where we are not legally required to grant this permission, we are likely to stop doing so."

The commission said in a statement about its new structure: "The approach of this workstream will be deregulatory, putting responsibility back on the trustees of charities and reducing the commission's regulatory engagement."

The commission is in the process of removing a layer of management by making all of its director-level posts redundant and creating 11 senior management posts that report directly to Sam Younger, the regulator's chief executive (see below).

In another part of its restructure, the commission has decided to rely more heavily on its website.

The statement said: "All information, advice and guidance of a general nature will be web-based. The commission will only give specific advice where it is the only body who can, or where regulatory compliance advice is required or where it fits within Section 29 of the Charities Act on advising trustees."

It added that the commission would retain its four offices in London, Liverpool, Taunton and Newport for the time being, because "the impact of closing one or more offices would have too great an impact on the commission's finances, workforce and performance".

It said the commission would consider this again in 2015.

The commission's new structure

The 11 senior management posts will be:

- Head of first contact

- Head of operations (London)

- Head of operations (Liverpool)

- Head of operations (Wales)

- Head of operations (Taunton)

- Head of investigations and enforcement

- Head of registration

- Head of information and communication

- Head of policy

- Head of legal

- Head of business services

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