Commission wants volunteers to offer feedback on using its website

Jane Adderley, head of first contact at the regulator, says the regulator wants to improve its digital offering

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission is seeking volunteers to give feedback on their experience using its website as it expands its digital services in coming months.

Jane Adderley, head of first contact at the commission, told delegates at a New Philanthropy Capital seminar in central London yesterday on how to be an effective trustee that the commission was aiming to improve its website and was looking for potential users to help.

The commission is looking to become digital by default with a new online annual return form launched in June and a portal through which charities could alter their names or objects online due to be available from early next year.

Adderley said the commission was going to do what it could to work with the government digital service to improve its website, and admitted the site had become more difficult to use since it had moved to the central domain.

"We have to develop an assisted digital service to support people through our journey, so I think the message is that if any of you did have any thoughts or would like to be involved in mapping out these customer journeys, doing some user testing then please do get in touch."

She said she would be running a workshop to test out the customer journey and help the commission understand what it would be like for a trustee using the website to change its name.

"We are very keen to work with as many charities as possible  as we develop these digital journeys," she said.

"There’s no point developing these services if you’re still so having so much difficultly using it you have to pick up the phone and wait to speak to us."

But she reiterated a promise made by Paula Sussex, chief executive of the commission, in March that the commission’s telephone advice service would be continuing - despite currently having only eight staff. 

She added that charities should ensure that that their name and charitable activities matched up with their objects as it was "not uncommon" to find charities had drifted away from their original purpose.

"Many charities who have been round for a while, their activities start to move away from their core projects," she said.

One of the key messages, she said, was that charities should not wait for the commission to become involved before addressing the issue­ - instead they could conduct an internal governance review to establish whether their activities match their objects and proactively contact the commission to ask for a change if not.

The charity should also make sure its name was up to date in reflecting what it did, she said.

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