Charity Commission 'will focus on core regulatory role'

Report on its strategic review says investigations should concentrate on serious risks and provision of one-to-one advice should shift to sector umbrella bodies

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission is proposing to focus its investigatory work on charities where there is a "serious and systemic risk" and it believes its involvement will have most impact.

It is also proposing that sector umbrella bodies and charities "need to take back responsibility for promoting and sharing good practice" and giving one-to-one advice to charities.

The proposals comes in today's initial conclusions of the regulator's strategic review, set up in response to a cut to its budget of more than a quarter, from £29.3 in 2010/11 to £21.3m in 2014/15.

The report says the regulator "must maintain the capacity to investigate individual charities where there is mismanagement or abuse."

It goes on:"We need to ensure that we focus on individual interventions only where there is a serious and systemic risk and where our involvement can have most impact - continuing to work with others, and recognising that risk is not confined to the bigger charities".

Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the commission, said in a statement: "There is strong support for a clearer focus on our core regulatory role, and on doing what only we can do.

"This will mean a rebalancing of the relationship between the sector and the regulator so that umbrella bodies, and charities themselves, take back responsibility for sharing and promoting good practice.

"It will mean reinforcing the confidence and self-reliance of charities to make their own decisions within the legal boundaries wherever possible. It will mean reducing our interventions in individual charities and, over time, our one-to-one advice to charities."

The report says the commission will stop providing extra support to groups that fail to get charitable status. It will "move quickly and clearly to reject applications which do not meet the requirements, rather than spending time working with them to refine their application."

The report also says that the commission's priorities will include registering new charities, publishing information about charities, providing guidance to trustees and dealing with serious mismanagement and abuse.

The commission also plans to reduce its layers of management through a restructure that is due to be completed by 1 October. A spokeswoman for the commission said this was likely to involve about 140 redundancies, which have already been announced.

It will also consider whether it is necessary to continue using all of its offices, which are in London, Liverpool, Taunton and Newport.

The strategic review report also says the commission will "consider possible options for the future funding of our work", but it does not provide further detail on this.

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