Charity Commission for Northern Ireland publishes corporate plan

Watchdog will assist charities, but clamp down on those that do not comply with rules

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has this week published its first corporate plan, which will cover the years 2011 to 2014.

The document says the regulator will follow the example of the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator by taking a ‘risk-based’ approach to charity regulation.

The plan says the commission will "use the full force of the law" against charities that decide not to comply with its regulations, but will assist charities to comply if it decides they "try but don’t always succeed" in abiding by the law.

It says the organisation expects to receive £800,000 in the financial year 2011/12, the same amount it received in 2010/11. Its funding comes from the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland.

The plan says the commission’s aims are to increase public trust and confidence in charities, promote awareness of the public benefit requirement and promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations.

"We will maintain our operational independence, acting without fear or favour, in the public interest," it says. "We will exercise our powers and discretion in a way that is consistent, impartial and even-handed."

It says the commission will "encourage maximum compliance by seeking to create the right incentives for charities to comply with the law." It does not provide further detail on what the incentives might be.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland was set up by the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

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