Charity Commission spent £1.7m on severance costs, latest accounts reveal

Regulator publishes both its resource accounts and annual report today

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission spent £1.7m on severance costs in 2010/11, an increase from £98,000 in the previous year, as it began making redundancies in response to a cut in its funding of more than a quarter.

The regulator's resource accounts, published today, show its staffing costs rose from £18.7m in 2009/10 to £19.3m in 2010/11, despite a fall in the cost of salaries from £14.3m to £13.8m.

The accounts reveal that Rosie Chapman, who left her role as the commission's director of policy and effectiveness in May, received a compensation payment of between £50,000 and £100,000.

In October, the commission was told that its budget would fall from £29.3m in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15 as part of the government's comprehensive spending review.

The latest accounts show the commission had 436 full-time-equivalent staff at the end of the 2010/11 financial year, a fall from 466 in the previous year.

They also reveal that expense payments to the commission's chair, Dame Suzi Leather, fell from £22,520 in 2009/10 to £19,433 in 2010/11.

The accounts were published alongside the regulator's annual report, which says 88 per cent of charity registration applications in 2010/11 were made online, compared with 50 per cent in the previous year.

Overall take-up of the commission's online services increased by 8.7 per cent as the amount of post received fell by 40 per cent and the number of incoming calls went down by 22 per cent.

The regulator's mergers team has experienced a 150 per cent increase in the number of complex cases it has dealt with since 2009, says the annual report.

The document also outlines the regulator's change in approach under its new structure. "While the commission will focus more closely on preventing problems from occurring in charities – for instance, by proactively assessing emerging risks and producing clear guidance - the sector itself will need to do more to support good governance, and individual charities will need to become more self-reliant," it says.

"We will focus on our core regulatory role and on doing the things that only we can. Maintaining the register, promoting compliance with charity law and developing online guidance will constitute our core activity."

In 2010/11, the Charity Commission:

- Registered 5,776 charities

- Carried out 1,900 assessments of concerns raised about charities by members of the public and other complainants

- Held 167 compliance investigations, of which nine were statutory inquiries

- Exercised legal powers on more than 10,000 occasions, including 505 legal schemes helping charities to change and modernise

- Handled 726 requests made under the Freedom of Information Act.

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