January 2018 - Charity Returns (for charities in England and Wales)

Charity Returns (for charities in England and Wales)
The Charity Commission has new guidance for charities completing their Annual Return, key points are summarised below, full details can be found on the Charity Commission website

  1. Fundraising: Charities will be asked if they work with commercial participators or professional fundraisers. If they answer yes, they will be asked if they have a written agreement in place (it is a legal requirement to have a written agreement with commercial participators and professional fundraisers). This information will be on the public register.

  2. Government Funding: Charities are advised to keep a record of the number and total value of a) contracts and b) grants from central or local government and this information will be published on the charity’s public register page.

  3. Overseas Income: The annual return will now have questions about overseas income from specific sources i.e:
    a) Overseas governments or quasi government bodies
    b) Overseas charities, NGOs/non-governmental organisations and NPOs/ non-profit organisations.
    c) Other overseas institutions outside the UK (i.e. other than charities, NGOs and NPOs).
    d) Individual donors resident overseas. and
    e) Unknown/don’t know.
    The reporting responsibilities will depend on the size of the charity and the payment amount.

  4. Employees’ salaries: Charities will be asked about the number of employees with total employee benefits of over £60,000.

  5. Payments to trustees: Charities will be asked:
    a) During the financial period for this annual return, were any of the trustees:
    i) paid for being a trustee
    ii) paid for providing any professional advice
    iii) received other benefits e.g. renting property from the charity at below market value?
    b) During the financial period for this annual return, were any employees formerly trustees of the charity?

  6. Expenditure in countries outside England and Wales: You will be asked whether the charity operates overseas, the countries it operates in and the total expenditure by country. You will also be asked whether the charity transferred money outside of the regulated banking system AND whether there are monitoring controls in place for the overseas expenditure. Lastly, the charity will be asked if the trustees are satisfied that the charity’s risk management policy and procedures adequately address risks to the charity arising from its activities and/or where it operates.

  7. Trading Subsidiaries: You will be asked if any of the charity trustees are also directors of any of the charity’s subsidiaries in order to check for issues such as unmanaged conflicts of interest. If the charity is investing in its trading subsidiary, there usually needs to be enough unconflicted trustees to consider and if appropriate approve the decision (i.e: trustees who are not also directors of the trading subsidiary).

  8. Safeguarding: Charities will be required to provide information on DBS checks, where charities have trustees, staff or volunteers who work directly with vulnerable beneficiaries.