Charity Commission publishes the new annual return

This year's annual return will include questions on staff pay, overseas funding sources and safeguarding policies

The Charity Commission's London offices
The Charity Commission's London offices

The Charity Commission has published its new annual return, including questions on overseas funding, staff salaries and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.

Charities will have to disclose whether they get any funding from outside the UK and will have to specify the amount of funding they receive from each overseas nation, the new annual return, which was published last week, shows.

The inclusion of questions on overseas funding proved controversial when first mooted last year. The commission has made these questions optional for this year’s annual return, but mandatory from 2019 onwards.

Funding from overseas governments or quasi-government bodies, such as the European Union, will have to be disclosed in the new annual return, alongside funding from overseas charities and NGOs.

Foreign individual donors and private institutions that provide funding will need to be disclosed only if the payments are more than £25,000 or above 80 per cent of the charity’s total income, the annual return says.

Charities will also be asked to disclose if they transferred money overseas by any method other than through a regulated banking system, although this question will become mandatory only in 2019.

Questions about monitoring controls on overseas expenditure, the methods used to transfer money overseas and the amounts involved, and whether satisfactory risk management policies and procedures are in place for money transfers are also included for the first time.

Another new question will require charities to disclose whether any staff earned more than £60,000 in the year covered by the annual return and say how many earned benefits of between £60,000 and £150,000 in increments of £10,000.

The number of staff earning between £150,001 and £500,000 will have to be disclosed in bands of £50,000, as will the number of staff earning more than £500,000 a year.

The highest earner’s total benefits will also have to be revealed, according to the new annual return, but only if they earn more than £60,000 a year.

Charities already have to disclose in their annual report and accounts the number of staff earning more than £60,000 in bands of £10,000.

Whether any trustees, staff or volunteers work directly with children or at-risk adults will have to be disclosed in the new annual return, as well as whether Disclosure and Barring Service checks have been carried out on all eligible people.

New questions on grant funding from central and local government – both the number of grants and their total value – have been included in the new annual return, as has a question on the number of government contracts a charity has.

Any relationships with professional fundraisers and whether written agreements exist with all of a charity’s professional fundraisers will have to be disclosed.

Charities will also have to disclose if any trustees resigned and were then appointed as staff during the year covered by the annual return, and whether any trustees were directors of trading subsidiaries.

The new annual return will come into force by the end of the month, the commission said.

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