The government will make information available on how charities make and spend money in an "open data" format, the Cabinet Office secretary, Francis Maude, announced today.
Data held by the Charity Commission on the annual returns of charities in England and Wales will be made available by March 2014. The data will give basic details, including headline income and expenditure, for all registered charities and will show how charities with an income of more than £500,000 allocate their revenue across fundraising, governance and charitable activities and what they retain for future use.
The move follows an independent report into public sector information, published last month by Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive of the government-founded market research firm YouGov. The government response is published today.
The Cabinet Office said that Maude’s commitment is also in response to a recent study, which found that a lack of public knowledge about how charities spend money was one of the main barriers to trust in the sector.
The study found that 45 per cent of people with low trust in charities felt they "spend too much of their funds on salaries/administration", 27 per cent said they did "not know how charities spend their money" and 21 per cent believed charities "waste money".
Maude said that the commitment will "strengthen the hand of citizens in holding charitable organisations to account".