Ten men and four women have been appointed to the committee that advises regulators on the rules for how charities across the UK and Ireland report their finances.
Those involved in the recruitment process acknowledged that there is a lack of diversity on the new committee and said they are looking at how to widen the pool of applicants in future.
The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) is the set of rules which governs accounting for charitable companies and charities with an income over £250,000. The SORP committee identifies potential changes and advises the charity regulators, which set the rules.
A governance review last year highlighted the importance of making accounts easier to use and for the first time the committee includes organisations which work closely with charities and have a working knowledge of charity accounts, as well as greater membership from smaller charities.
Myles McKeown, joint chair of the SORP committee, said: “The SORP has an important role to play in setting the accountancy standards for charities and, as highlighted by the recent governance review, it is vital the SORP develops in a way that meets modern expectations.
“One key way to achieve this is to build a committee with as wide a representational viewpoint as possible, in particular from the individuals, groups and organisations which have practical experience of using the SORP.”
In late 2019, a panel of representatives from the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW), the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), alongside an observer member from the Charities Regulatory Authority (CRA), interviewed for new members.
SORP-making body ‘aware of and concerned’ about lack of diversity
The SORP-making body has said that it is reviewing how it can encourage people from other backgrounds to apply, because there is a lack of diversity in gender, age and ethnicity in the current committee.
Laura Anderson, joint chair of the SORP-making body and head of professional advice and intelligence at OSCR, said: “We carefully reflected on gender balance and other aspects of diversity and inclusion during the appointment process, as it became clear that we were receiving relatively few applications from women and people of BAME backgrounds. In making appointments, we were constrained by this, and by the importance of balancing different stakeholder voices, and the need to address the recommendations regarding composition made in the governance review.
“We are aware of and concerned about the resulting lack of diversity – in gender, age and ethnicity – on the new SORP-making committee and so are looking to the engagement process to help us. A learning point is how through new media we might extend our approach to recruiting to the committee to draw in people from diverse backgrounds with the right skills to apply to the committee.
“When the SORP-making body next meets, we will discuss a strategy for engaging with people from diverse backgrounds in the SORP-making process, including through engagement partners. We will also reflect on how we can reach out to a wider range of people when we next recruit a SORP committee.”
It said that a similar proportion of women applied to the committee as were appointed to it.
Three of the four people on the reserve list are women. The reason they were not all included in the committee is that they are all representatives of the auditing profession and the committee had to balance the stakeholder voices on the committee.
The panel appointing the SORP committee was gender balanced.
- Diarmaid Ó Corrbuí (Republic of Ireland)
- Tony Clarke (Northern Ireland)
- Neal Trup (England and Wales)
- Michael Brougham (Scotland)
- Max Rutherford (Association of Charitable Foundations, England and Wales)
Commentator and academics
- Noel Hyndman (Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Auditors, preparers and organisations
- Daniel Chan (PWC, England and Wales)
- Carol Rudge (Grant Thornton, England and Wales)
- Gareth Hughes (Diocese of Down and Connor, Northern Ireland)
- Tom Connaughton (Charities Institute Ireland, Republic of Ireland)
- Caron Bradshaw (Charity Finance Group, England and Wales)
- Jenny Simpson (Wylie & Bisset LLP, Scotland)
- Joanna Pittman (Sayer Vincent, England and Wales)
- Tim Hencher (Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations)