Charities will not be required to name their donors in their annual reports and accounts, after the Charities SORP Committee responded to fears expressed in a recent consultation.
The committee guides the development of the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice – the sector's accounting rules – and is jointly headed by figures from the Charity Commission and OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator. It includes charity FDs, auditors and representatives from infrastructure bodies.
A requirement for charities to identify by name and amount any material donations or contracts had been proposed by the committee in a research exercise on the future of the SORP last year.
The idea had originated from previous research in 2008/09 which identified an interest among funders for more disclosure of which organisations fund charities.
However, according to minutes from the committee’s June meeting, there was consensus that the proposal should not be considered any further, following “strong fears” expressed by respondents to the research exercise.
Respondents had warned that that the loss of donor anonymity would result in a decrease in voluntary income received by charities. There were also concerns about the practical implications and about how much interest “general users” of charity accounts would have in this disclosure.
New update bulletin likely for 2019
The committee also discussed plans for future revisions to the SORP.
The SORP-making body intends to issue an update bulletin which will apply to accounting periods beginning on or after 1 Jan 2019, in order to reflect technical changes required by the FRC’s UK triennial review of GAAP.
A consultation on this update is planned for late spring next year.
The SORP-making body will then issue a new edition of the current SORP in order to reflect these changes and also those introduced in April 2017's Update Bulletin 1. This will save accounts preparers from having to follow three separate documents, and will be released in time to be applied to periods beginning 1 Jan 2019.
More substantial changes to the format of annual reports and accounts will come later on with the release of a whole new SORP, which is tentatively planned for accounting periods starting in 2022.