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Online charity register to state whether charities pay trustees

25 October 2013

Charity Commission will also scrap the summary information return

The online register of charities is to include several new pieces of information, including whether charities pay their trustees, the Charity Commission has announced.

 
In addition to payment of trustees, the register will display whether the charity is a member of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB). The register will also publish whether the charity's accounts have been qualified by an auditor or independent examiner, and whether the charity is insolvent, in administration or subject to enforcement action for non-submission of accounts.
 
Where the Commission doesn’t already hold this information, questions will be added to the annual return for 2014. Charities will also be encouraged to fill in a free text box describing their aims and achievements for the year, which will appear on the register.
 
Elsewhere, the Commission revealed that it is to scrap the summary information return (SIR). According to the results of its earlier consultation on the content of the annual return and register of charities, 118 of 146 respondents believed it should because discontinued.
 
Many said it duplicated material in the trustees' annual report and accounts, while Lord Hodgson had also called for it to be scrapped. Charities with an income over £1m will still have to complete an SIR for the annual return in 2013, but not for 2014.
 
Jane Hobson, head of policy at the Charity Commission, said: “In developing the proposals, we were mindful of getting the balance right between the need for charities to be transparent without making the task of completing the annual return too much of a burden. We are pleased that all ten proposals were agreed to by the majority of the respondents to the consultation.
 
“We have also taken additional comments from the respondents into consideration and we understand that charities will need new, comprehensive guidance to support them in completing their annual return."
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Gareth Jones

Gareth Jones is a journalist and communications consultant specialising in charity finance. As editorial manager of Slack Communications, he co-authors Charity Financials' range of Spotlight reports and writes regularly for the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network. Previously he was editor of the Charity Finance Group's member magazine Finance Focus and senior reporter at both Charity Finance magazine and CivilSociety.co.uk

Elsewhere he writes articles and edits special supplements for the New Statesman, advises businesses and charities on their PR, blogging and digital strategies, and holds a master's degree in Public Policy from King's College London.

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