Report says charities should not be required to disclose expenses

Independent Expert Group on Expenses says compulsory disclosure 'could damage public trust'

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Charities should not be required to publish the expenses of their staff or individual trustees, the Independent Expert Group on Expenses has recommended.

The group, which was set up by the NCVO and the Charity Finance Directors' Group in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal, concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to justify a "wholesale expansion of expenses disclosure" in the sector.

"We found little indication from the Charity Commission or from those with an overarching view of the sector that widespread public concern about expenses exists either within the sector or on the part of the general public," the report says.

Greater disclosure might lead to misinterpretation or suspicion and damage public trust and confidence, the report says.

But it adds that there will often be reasons why disclosure is desirable for individual charities. "We encourage trustees to consider whether, in the context of their own organisations and in the interest of their stakeholders, they should go further and disclose the expenses of individual trustees and senior managers," it says.

The group, chaired by former charity commissioner Lindsay Driscoll, reminded charities that are required to comply with the Statement of Recommended Practice on Accounting by Charities, or Sorp, that they are obliged to disclose the total amount of trustee expenses, the nature of the expenses and the number of trustees involved.

The Charity Commission should review the level of compliance with these Sorp requirements, the panel also recommended.


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