“The rationale behind this is that it promotes accountability and transparency in the sector, whilst minimising the administrative burden for smaller charities of sending in documents to the commission,” a spokeswoman for the regulators said. “We would always encourage charities to explain their work openly when asked.”
But Jonathan Brinsden, a solicitor at law firm Bircham Dyson Bell, said he was not convinced that asking charities to report on their activities once a year was a disproportionate burden.
“You could argue there is a degree of self-interest on the commission’s part because it’s going to reduce its administrative burden,” said Brinsden. “We know its budget has been tightened, but it’s not in donors’ interests to raise the TAR threshold.”
The proposals also suggest raising the income threshold distinguishing volunteers from professional fundraisers to £10 a day, instead of £5.
The changes have been put up for discussion in a joint consultation from the Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission. Those interested in sharing their views have until 31 March 2008 to do so.