Regulators reveal reforms to the body that sets charity accounting rules

The Sorp Committee will reduce in size and have a greater weighting towards smaller charities

The four charity regulators in the UK and Ireland have announced reforms to the body that sets the charity sector’s accounting rules, including adding seven advisory groups and including greater representation for smaller charities on the main committee.

The reforms to the Statement of Recommended Practice come after a consultation that ran earlier this year to modernise the Sorp for all of the four charity regulators covering England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A report by the Sorp Governance Review Panel earlier this summer made a series of recommendations, including a reduction in the number of Sorp committee members, a simpler Sorp for smaller charities and encouraging charities to make financial information on their websites and in press releases Sorp-compliant.

The four regulators have now accepted a reduction in the size of the Sorp Committee, from 16 to 12, with a greater weighting towards smaller charities.

The recruitment of Sorp Committee members will also now include corporate members with an interest in the Sorp, as well as more funders. Seven stakeholder groups will be convened to consult on Sorp.

These seven groups will include representation from government and public bodies; professional, audit and technical; trustees; major funders and donors; academics and regulators; proxies for public interest; and preparers from smaller charities and independent examiners.

The changes will be introduced by March next year.

Nigel Davies, head of accountancy services at the Charity Commission, said: "We know from our own research that the public care deeply about financial transparency from charities.

"Charity accounts are an important opportunity for trustees to communicate the difference they are making. Today’s announcement reflects our joint commitment to ensure that charity accounts work for those that matter: beneficiaries and the public."

Laura Anderson, head of professional advice and intelligence at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator, said: "As regulators, we are conscious of the importance of involving a wide range of views and expertise in the development of the Sorp, to ensure that charity annual reports and accounts prepared using the Sorp are the best that they can be.

"We hope that everyone with an interest in charity reporting and accounting will understand the changes we are making and why they matter."

Myles McKeown, head of compliance and enquiries at the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, said the changes would "lay important foundations to ensure the Sorp can continue to be fit for purpose".

The charities regulator in the Republic of Ireland has yet to approve the Sorp, but will become a fully-fledged member of the Sorp Committee once that happens.

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