Latest Charity News


The Charity Commission held its latest public meeting on 26th March 2013, here are the key headlines from the meeting:


Self – reliance


Sam Younger, the Commission’s Chief Executive spoke of how the Commission are focusing on developing charities self-reliance and underlined the importance of ensuring the trustees take ownership of their charity and its activities. He urged charities to submit their accounts online and make use of the raft of tools available on the Commission’s website such as the Trustee Handbook and audio podcasts on topics such as fraud awareness and the rewards of trusteeship. Our recent blog post highlights the key responsibilities of trustees duties click here to read it.


Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs)


The benefits and disadvantages of this new legal structure and that of unincorporated and incorporated charities were presented. For more information about the CIO legal status and how it could benefit your organisation please refer to our previous article.


Changes to governing documents


Neil Robertson, Head of Operations at the Commission highlighted that in many cases, minor changes to governing documents, for example, a change in trustee numbers do not require the Commission’s prior approval. Instead, trustees would simply need to inform the Commission once the amendment has been made. For more complex amendments such as a change in charitable objects or change in distribution of property, a scheme of amendment may be required. Each case will depend on the charities existing governing document and specifically whether the trustees have ‘power of amendment’.


How to avoid serious problems


The Commission’s Head of Investigation & Enforcement, Michelle Russell presented common findings from the Commission’s investigations. The overarching theme is that many serous issues investigated by the Commission result from a failure of the trustees to fulfil their basic core duties. Common issues include a dominant individual on the board of trustees, poor financial controls, poor record keeping and poor documentation of decision making. The key message is that strong governance and financial management result in a charity that is better protected against potential fraud and abuse.


If you have any questions arising from this article, or any other queries relating to your charity, please do not hesitate to contact me on 01772 821021 or email