Charity Commission pledges to better engage with trustees

16 May 2022 News

The Charity Commission said it will better engage with trustees, effectively moving away from communicating “solely with organisations”.

In its business plan for 2022-23, which was released last week, the regulator set out three strategic priorities focusing on the use of data and information, trustees and its own staff. 

As the first step in reshaping its relationship with trustees, the Commission aims to launch a new online trustee portal this year. Over time, the portal will be “tailored to trustees’ specific needs, aiming to improve their experiences of engaging with us and better receiving the support they need to run their charities,” it said. 

The Commission said: “Over the next three years, we will fundamentally shift how we communicate with charities. We will aim to move away from communicating solely with organisations, to engaging proactively with individual trustees.

“We will seek out a more personalised relationship with trustees, tailoring our communications and enabling trustees to share appropriate and timely information about themselves and their charities with us. In doing so, we will together drive-up compliance with regulatory requirements and increase transparency, improving the sector’s accountability to the public.”

A person-centred approach

Starting this year, the Commission will run “sustained and targeted campaigns” with messages that will help trustees understand their responsibilities. It will also continue to develop its guidance so that trustees can improve their charities’ governance and “increase their impact on society”.

It also committed to better identifying and addressing wrongdoing in charities by improving “intelligence gathering and data analysis”.

It said: “We want to better use the data and information we hold, so that we can help the public make informed choices about charities; enable us to identify risk in charities sooner; and provide our stakeholders with better visibility of the scale and scope of the sector.”

In addition, the Commission will bring in changes to the charity classification categories and consult on proposed changes to the annual return.

‘Simple and ambitious’

Commenting on the plan, Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “Our plan for the year ahead is as simple as it is ambitious. We have set three priorities: improving our ability to regulate effectively, communicating better with individual trustees, and strengthening our organisation.

“I am confident that the expertise and commitment of our staff, and the support and challenge of our board, will ensure we deliver on these aims.”

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