At this year’s Gathering we started our 10 year birthday celebrations. It has been an interesting decade.
We have worked to continuously learn in order to make sure we are doing all we can to contribute to public trust and confidence in charities.
This has led to our new approach of targeted regulation, where we will nuance our systems and approaches towards those charities and groups of charities which pose the highest risk to public trust and confidence.
Charities won’t have to do any more, but it is an opportunity to get a fuller account out there about their work and its impact
We have been looking at this internally over the last year or so. Many people in the sector will have seen or taken part in the consultation on targeted regulation, the results of which were published on 16 of March last year.
In essence this is a change to our overall approach and there will be some key effects for charities starting from 1 of April this year.
None of these should be particularly tricky or complicated and will be publish clear guidance on them. We’re also here to help if anything is too confusing.
So, what are the changes?
The annual return form
There won’t be an increase in questions for anyone; indeed for many charities there will be less. However, the nature of the questions will change, with much more focus on issues about governance.
This may feel strange to begin with, but our feeling is that most charity trustees should have the information they need at their fingertips to answer these questions.
From 1 April, we will start a notifiable events regime. The aim is to contribute to the good governance of a charity.
We want to understand the issues that charities are facing and offer our support, if necessary. We don’t want to know about every event, only those that threaten to have a significant impact on a charity or its assets.
Reporting such issues to OSCR is really about making sure that problems are being well dealt with; it is not a stick to beat a charity up with.
Trustees’ annual reports
What the public really want to know about charities is what they are doing and the impact they are having.
While we have been delighted that the financial component of the accounts coming to us has improved significantly over the 10 year period, there is still work to be done to try to develop reports that really show the public the effect their money and voluntary time is having.
We will be working with the sector (including developing new guidance) to help increase the quality of the narrative reporting of charities.
Publishing reports and accounts
Transparency is a great way of inspiring confidence. From 1 of April, we will being publishing the reports and accounts of charities with an income of over £25,000, as well as all SCIOs.
Charities won’t have to do any more, but it is an opportunity to get a fuller account out there about their work and its impact.
Charities will see differences. However, nothing should be too onerous.
We believe that this programme of change will help us work better with the charity sector to inspire public trust and confidence overall.