Number of new charities drops to 33-year low as regulator ‘strengthens’ approach

06 Jan 2023 News

Charity Commission building and logo

Civil Society Media

The lowest number of new charities in more than 30 years registered with the Charity Commission in 2022, according to the regulator’s database.

Some 4,021 organisations in England and Wales registered as charities last year, compared to 4,315 in 2021 and a yearly average of 5,415 in the decade before that.

The Charity Commission said in reaction to the figures that it had “strengthened” its response to incomplete or unclear applications from prospective charities.

Meanwhile, the number of charities removed from the register rose by nearly 2,000 to almost 6,000 in 2022, driven by 1,279 Jehovah’s Witness congregations merging into national charity the Kingdom Hall Trust last year.

Charity registrations decline

The number of charities that registered in 2022 is the lowest since 1989, when 4,011 did so.

Of the 4,021 that registered last year, 1,000 said they would work across England and Wales, with 704 across England and 31 across Wales. The remainder either work more locally or overseas.

Charity registrations and removals 440.jpg

Commenting on the figures, the Charity Commission said it had “strengthened [its] approach” in responding to poor quality applications from potential charities.

“To ensure the Commission can continue to effectively review applications and dedicate time to meaningful engagement with trustees, we have strengthened our approach when receiving applications that are incomplete or fail to clearly outline their charitable purposes,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.

“When applying to register a charity, we encourage all trustees to follow our guidance and tools available on our website to ensure this is the correct step for their organisation."

More charities removed from register

Some 5,918 charities were removed from the register in 2022, compared to 3,965 the year before 3,986 in 2020.

However, last year’s figure was lower than the 6,063 removed in 2019.

The 2022 rise was driven by 1,866 charities with religious objects being removed, compared to 547 the year prior.

More specifically, this is likely due to 1,279 Jehovah’s Witness congregations merging into national charity the Kingdom Hall Trust last year.

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