The Commission has stated that the proposed changes do not place any new requirements upon charities but rather should assist charities to submit the correct information and in the correct format.
The Commission has included a full copy of the annual monitoring return in the consultation document which will be of interest to all charities, especially those who haven’t submitted an annual monitoring return yet. Please download the consultation document from the Charity Commission’s website www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/about-us/public-consultations/current-consultations/
There were some very useful comments raised at the consultation seminar held in NICVA last month which are outlined below.
Changes to Part A
The Commission proposes to include a question asking if a ‘Statement of assets and liabilities’ has been included with the Receipts and Payments accounts. If they answer no they are reminded that it is a legal requirement to include this Statement.
Participants agreed the inclusion of this question was helpful however it would be good if a help box was included to give further information or a link to the Commission’s guidance on Receipts and Payments accounts.
The Commission has also included a question requesting details of the auditor or independent examination. It was suggested by some that if an independent examination was carried out on accounts over £250,000 then they should also include the qualification (in relation to the list of people qualified to carry this out) of the Independent Examiner.
Participants also felt that more guidance was needed under the question on qualified accounts as this can be misunderstood. Also need clarification on whether to include consideration of a ‘going concern’ or not.
The Commission is proposing to include a checklist for the trustee’s annual report at the end of Part A of the return. While participants felt that this checklist was very helpful, they felt that it should be included at the beginning of the document as the report will probably have been completed by the time the charity gets to this section.
Changes to Part B
The Commission proposes to include a question on the fundraising regulator which now has responsibility for fundraising in Northern Ireland. No one had any objection to the inclusion of this question however some had issue with the ordering of the questions in this section.
For example, it was suggested that the question asking if the charity is registered with the fundraising regulator should be included after the question on ‘did it spend more than £100,000 on generating income?’ as this is the threshold when they should be registering with the fundraising regulator.
It was also suggested that the question on best practice and standards in fundraising should be a standalone question for all to answer and not just for those charities which are not registered with the fundraising regulator.