The Charity Commission is to launch a new online register of charities, replacing the two that are currently available.
In the regulator's recently published annual accounts, it states that it has been working on improvements to its register, “to make it easier for the public to find the information on registered charities they need”.
It says that the design and layout will be “informed by user research and experience”, in order that the new register will be easier to navigate.
The financial history graphs on the new register will be more interactive, with the sector data in a much simpler format.
“We will build on this over the coming months with user research continuing beyond delivery to understand what users want from the register to be able to make further improvements,” the accounts add.
The new register is expected to launch in the coming months, and include some new features.
The new version will be an amalgamation of the show charity register, which formed part of the Commission's website before it was integrated into the main gov.uk website, and the current beta version on gov.uk.
Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, wrote in a blogpost: “My focus this year is our commitment to being open for business, for the benefit of everyone that has an interest in charity. Whether you are a member of the public raising a concern about a charity, an organisation looking to register as a charity, or a trustee reporting an incident or looking for guidance, the service we provide should be easy to access, efficient and swift.
“We will aim to make improvements to our core guidance to make it easier to use for trustees and will make our website easier to use. We will launch a more user-friendly view of the Register of Charities, making it easier for the public to find information about charities.”
Beta version launched in 2015
The beta version of the Commission’s search tool was launched in May 2015. It was later revamped after criticism that it helped those who wish to attack charities by displaying information about what charities spend on administration.
The newer version moved information about spending ratios away from the left-hand column of the overview and to the bottom of its financials tab, and amended how it explained spending ratios.
It also focused more on the amount spent on charitable activities.