Four regulators to review governance of Sorp committee

The review will be chaired by the academic Gareth Morgan and will focus on transparency and public confidence

Charities Sorp to be reviewed
Charities Sorp to be reviewed

The four charity regulators for the UK and Ireland will hold a governance review of the committee that develops the charities Statement of Recommended Practice.

An oversight panel will be created with a nominated observer from the Financial Reporting Council and representatives from the charity regulators for England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The panel will be chaired by the academic Gareth Morgan and will focus on addressing "the transparency and public confidence challenges facing charities", a statement announcing the review said.

Earlier this year, Joe Saxton, a former member of the Sorp committee and co-founder of the research organisation nfpSynergy, called for major reforms to the way the Sorp is set, arguing that the committee had been "captured by charity finance professionals".

He said that all but two of the 20 people on the committee were members of the charity finance secto, and charities had too much of a say in what the Sorp required them to disclose.

The Charity Commission and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator held a six-week consultation earlier this year, proposing 21 changes to the Sorp.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Charities Regulatory Authority for the Republic of Ireland both joined the Sorp committee for the first time in June this year.

The oversight panel conducting the review of the Sorp committee will focus specifically on the committee’s membership and the extent to which key stakeholders have been involved in the Sorp-making process.

Any proposals from the review will be adopted in 2019 in time for the development of the next Sorp.

Morgan said: "I am delighted that the four charity regulators across the UK and Ireland will together form the new Sorp-making body.

"In the circumstances, it is entirely right to begin with a review of the governance processes in developing new versions of the Sorp, and I am honoured to have been asked to chair that review."

Laura Anderson, head of professional advice and intelligence at the OSCR, said: "The review comes at a critical juncture as we look to take stock and develop the next Sorp with the needs of all four charity law jurisdictions in mind.

"To be effective we need a Sorp process that is fully representative and delivers a Sorp that it is clear, accurate and meets the reporting needs of the users of charity reports and accounts while upholding the standards issued by the FRC."

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