Our statement of regulatory approach is an important strategic document that sets out how the Commission approaches its work and how we will fulfil our role under the Charities Act. We publish the statement on our website so that trustees, charity staff, the public and other groups affected by our work understand what we do and how we work. We recently revised our statement of regulatory approach to ensure it best reflects our current strategic approach and priorities. It was launched at our annual public meeting.
First and foremost a compliance-based regulator
The key principles remain in place. We still consider that we can best fulfil our statutory objectives by concentrating on promoting compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations, enhancing transparency and the rigour with which we hold charities accountable, and ensuring that only bodies that properly qualify as charities under the law are registered. These are key to promoting public trust and confidence in charities and thereby encouraging charitable giving in all its forms.
There are other key values that we consistently apply to our work. Proportionality is one example, ensuring that where genuine mistakes by trustees do not have serious consequences we will work with them to resolve matters. Another is continuing to respect and protect charities’ independence.
More emphasis on enablement
Yet there is a new focus on promoting trusteeship and supporting trustees. We have always recognised that raising awareness and providing advice will help trustees comply with their legal duties and have delivered this through case reports, policy guidance on a range of matters and speaking at trustee events.
Increasing our reach through digital is something we’ve talked a lot about recently, and is an integral part of our capacity to carry out more enablement work. We’ve already seen this through our online Apply to Register a Charity service which has helped us increase the speed and quality of charity registration applications and has been really well received by the sector. Going forward it will primarily be delivered through a new charity services portal where trustees can go to receive tailored and timely information, as well as in other ways such as an increase in webinars to reach trustees that can’t easily attend events in large metropolitan areas. Within the next few months we will be launching two new digital services to help charities easily update their details online. This will mean trustees spend less time sending us forms sifting through information on our website that might not be relevant to them and more time focusing on their end cause.
We also believe that working with partners is a key to both our and the sector’s success as it helps us use our resources effectively but ensures trustees know where they can get extra support. For example, we recently published our response to the new Governance Code consultation and proposed to withdraw our Hallmarks of an Effective Charity and instead endorse and promote the code as the go-to good governance guide. We’re also conducting research with Cass Business School and the Cranfield Trust to better understand trustees’ awareness of their duties and challenges they face. In 2017 we plan to develop our working relationships with a number of umbrella bodies in the charitable sector and make them more productive and effective for both parties.
What this means for you
You can read the statement in full on our website. We expect that this new emphasis will ultimately translate into trustees feeling more supported, interacting in a more streamlined and productive way with the Commission and being better equipped to make effective use of their charitable resources.