Charity finance professionals satisfied with Charity Commission’s approach, survey finds

05 Apr 2022 News

The majority, 70%, of finance professionals working in charities say the “overall focus and approach” of the Charity Commission is correct, according to Charity Finance’s Regulation Survey.

Only 13% said the Commission’s focus and approach was incorrect with remaining 17% unsure.

The overall data was then split into three groups – small (charities with under £1m in annual income), medium (charities with between £1m and £20m in annual income) and large (charities with over £20m in annual income).

Half of the respondents from small charities said the Commission’s overall focus and approach was correct, a quarter said that it was not correct and the remaining 25% weren’t sure.

Some 83% of medium-sized charities also said it was correct and the remaining 17% weren’t sure.

At large charities, 67% thought the Commission was correct in its approach but 33% said they were incorrect.

Those that said they felt the Commission’s overall focus and approach was incorrect were given the chance to explain what they thought the regulator had got wrong.

The finance manager at one small charity felt that smaller organisations did not get enough support.

“There is too much focus on the large charities and not enough support for the small,” they said.

The finance director of a large charity said that there was a “gap when it comes to responsible business and climate action – notably net zero” within the regulator’s guidance.

They added that this was especially the case when it came to guidance around charities’ investment portfolios.

Too onerous?

Respondents were also asked if the level of charity regulation was too onerous.

Overall, 50% said it was too onerous, with 43% saying it was a “bit too onerous” and 7% saying it was “far too onerous”.

Some 39% felt that the level of regulation was “about right” but 11% said it was a “bit too lax”. Nobody said they felt it was “far too lax”.

Respondents were given the chance to explain what they felt was too onerous or too lax and some comments focused on the regulatory burden for small charities.

One small charity’s finance manager who felt the level of regulation was a “bit too onerous” said: “The requirements of the Charities SORP for small charities is too complex for volunteer treasurers.”

The finance director of a large charity said current regulation was a “bit too onerous” said: “For smaller charities (those with less than £1m income), regulation is too onerous. For those of us working in larger charities, I do not have that much of an issue.”

The full results of the survey are published in the April edition of Charity Finance magazine.

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