Charity Commission launches online portal to help charities find specialist advice

Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, says new pages allow charities to search for the right support, but users report teething problems

Sam Younger
Sam Younger

The Charity Commission has launched a new online service designed to help charities find umbrella and infrastructure bodies offering specialist advice.

The service is a portal on the commission’s website which allows charities to find organisations according to different search criteria, including 'capacity-building and support bodies' and 'umbrella bodies'.

The regulator developed the web pages to help charities find the "best fit" umbrella body for their needs as well as to encourage more charities to access the help available to them.

The regulator's Strategic Plan 2012-2015, published last year, says it will cut down on offering guidance to individual charities and "move to a position where the commission is not seen as the first or only point of call for those who need tailored advice". The commission’s budget is falling from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.

The new pages lists capacity-building organisations that offer more general advice to charities but, in emails sent to Third Sector since the service was launched on Friday, some pointed out that the portal had teething problems.

One said that the omission of Navca from the portal’s ‘capacity-building bodies’ section was a mistake because it fulfilled this role as well as being an umbrella body.

But a spokesman for Navca said it was in discussion with the commission and hoped the issue would be resolved so that charities seeking capacity-building advice could easily find its members.

Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, said: "These new pages demonstrate the wide range of existing support and help available to charities and I would encourage all trustees whose charities are not already members of an umbrella body to review the list and consider joining one."

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