Regulator promises to 'fundamentally shift' how it communicates with charities

The Charity Commission says that over the next three years it will move away from communicating solely with organisations to engage proactively with individual trustees

The Charity Commission has pledged to “fundamentally shift” the way it communicates with charities by engaging better with individual trustees.

The regulator’s business plan for 2022/23, published today, says the commission had identified three priorities for 2022/23: improving its ability to regulate “efficiently, effectively and robustly”; engaging better with trustees; and strengthening the commission itself.

The commission plans to introduce an online portal that would be “tailored to trustees’ specific needs, aiming to improve their experiences of engaging with us and better receiving the support they need to run their charities”.

The regulator’s plan says: “Over the next three years, we will fundamentally shift how we communicate with charities.

“We will aim to move away from communicating solely with organisations, to engaging proactively with individual trustees.

“We will seek out a more personalised relationship with trustees, tailoring our communications and enabling trustees to share appropriate and timely information about themselves and their charities with us.”

It said the move would drive up compliance with regulatory requirements and increase transparency.

The commission said it would “reach out to trustees through sustained and targeted campaigns with messages that help them to understand their responsibilities and engage them with our growing suite of practical guidance”.

It said it planned to modernise and rationalise its external guidance.

The commission also said it was aiming to increase the amount of wrongdoing it uncovered proactively, “making use of our increasingly sophisticated approach to intelligence gathering and data analysis”.

It said it would look to widen the range of data it holds about charities and improve its ability to analyse that data.

The regulator also reiterated a promise to implement changes to charity classifications and said it would launch a consultation on proposed changes to the annual return, while continuing to explore online filing of accounts.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “Our plan for the year ahead is as simple as it is ambitious.

“We have set three priorities: improving our ability to regulate effectively, communicating better with individual trustees, and strengthening our organisation.

“I am confident that the expertise and commitment of our staff, and the support and challenge of our board, will ensure we deliver on these aims.”

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