Charity Commission updates rules on trustee transparency

As the annual return deadline approaches, the Charity Commission is warning charities to ensure that they are up to speed with the latest transparency rules on trustees before filing accounts

The Charity Commission changed its systems on 12 November 2018 and any charities which have not submitted an annual return online since then, will need to change their processes.

No return can be submitted to the Charity Commission unless the full details of their charity has been checked and are correct, while all trustees’ contact details need to be updated to ensure the absolute latest information is available, including email addresses of trustees, the charity contact’s personal and contact details and the charity’s bank account details.

The Charity Commission stressed that ‘you cannot start your annual return until you’ve confirmed your charity’s details. It might take you a while to collect any missing information, for example all trustees’ email addresses and phone numbers’.

There are over 168,000 charities in England and Wales, and although the majority operate to March 31 year ends with a filing deadline of 31 January 2020, some charities file at different times. Regardless, the Charity Commission is keen to ensure that there is wide awareness of the rule change. 

All charitable incorporated organisations (irrespective of income) and those registered charities with a gross income in the financial year exceeding £25,000 must file their accounts and an annual report with the Charity Commission.

The record for each trustee must include the following:
  • title (optional);
  • given name;
  • family name;
  • suffix (optional);
  • home address;
  • email address (or confirm the trustee does not have one);
  • telephone number; and
  • date of birth.

Only the trustee’s full name will be shown on the public register.

The update needs to be completed online so it is important to ensure that the relevant charity administrator can log in to the charity’s account, using the charity registration number and password as all the information needs to be updated online.

Note that it can take up to two working days to get a new password, presumably for charities with limited internet or computer access, so it is important not to leave the update process too late.

‘If you cannot log in and do not have access to your charity contact’s email address, it can take up to two working days to get a new password,’ the Charity Commission said.

Guidance, first time charity uses ‘Update charity details’ service https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-first-time-your-charity-uses-the-update-charity-details-service

Sara White

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