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Charity Commission Annual Report 2016/2017

This report highlights the work of the Charity Commission (CC) for the year to 31 March 2017. The complete report can be found at Annual report.

This was the second year of the CC Strategic plan which runs from 2015-2018.

At 31 March 2017, there were 167,063 charities (and 16,455 subsidiaries) on the CC register. During the year, the CC regulated £74.7 billion of charity income, almost £4 billion more than the previous year, and over £71 billion of charity spend.

  • To 31 March 2018 there are 4 strategic priorities:
  • Priority 1: Protecting charities from abuse or mismanagement
  • Priority 2: Enabling trustees to run their charities effectively
  • Priority 3: Encouraging greater transparency and accountability by charities
  • Priority 4: Operating as an efficient, expert regulator with sustainable funding.
  • The CC main risk priorities are:
  • fraud and other financial abuse of charities
  • safeguarding beneficiaries, particularly children and vulnerable adults
  • misuse of a charity for terrorist purposes or to foster extremism
  • other significant breaches of trust or noncompliance that significantly affect public trust
  • and confidence in charities.

Priority 1 Protecting charities from abuse or mismanagement

Compliance work

  • The CC absorbed an increase in their compliance work whilst also achieving significant progress in closing older cases.
  • 22% reduction in the number of inquiries over one year old
  • 248 charities subject to an inquiry at the end of the year (2015-16: 135)
  • The number of new inquiry cases opened increased this year to 187 (2015-16: 52)

For the following reasons:

  • a class inquiry opened during the year involving 74 connected charities
  • more charities becoming part of the double defaulters class inquiry
  • an increase in other charities being referred for inquiry in order to deal with serious
  • regulatory concerns
  • The CC opened 1,644 (2015-16: 1,327) operational compliance cases and closed 1,499 (2015-16: 1,309).

Monitoring cases

In 2016-17, the CC opened 503 monitoring cases and concluded 586 cases (2015-16: 462 and 426 respectively). They carried out 113 proactive inspection and compliance visits (2015-16: 106). They recorded a beneficial impact in 95.3% of their monitoring cases. These cases resulted in 42 action plans being issued and 39 charities being removed from the register on the basis they had ceased to exist or operate. They also resulted in one notice of intention to issue an official warning to a trustee.

Review of accounts

During the year the CC team of accountancy experts looked at 894 (2015-16: 986) sets of accounts covering 607 (2015-16: 699) charities.

As part of their proactive monitoring activities they reviewed 380 (2015-16: 377) accounts as part of themed reviews for particular issues and 514 (2015-16: 609) accounts to progress their regulatory casework.

Whistleblowing to the Commission

The CC dealt with 142 causes for concern this year (2015-16: 143) – 17 came from auditors, 37 from independent examiners and 88 from charity employees.

Priority 2 Enabling trustees to run their charities effectively

The CC main aims in this area are:

  • Public engagement and communications:
  • engaging trustees to enable them to access the tools and resources required to fulfil their roles and meet compliance requirements.
  • Charity Services:
  • making it easier and more efficient for trustees to work with us when they need permissions or other assistance, through better, more user-friendly digital services.
  • Providing clear guidance:
  • providing clear, accessible, focused regulatory guidance to make it clear to trustees what they must do to comply with legal and regulatory norms.
  • Working jointly with other bodies:
  • Maximising our collaboration with third parties, such as charity funders, professional advisers and umbrella bodies to help improve trustee effectiveness.

Priority 3: Encouraging greater transparency and accountability by charities

  • There were 167,063 charities on the CC register as at 31 March 2017:
  • 6,045 charities were registered over the course of the year,
  • 3,684 of which were Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs).
  • 4,556 charities were removed from the register during the year.

Of the total number of charities registered 7,151 declared an income of more than £1 million and 86,103 had an income under £25k.

Priority 4: Operating as an efficient, expert regulator with sustainable funding

The CC are in the third year of a HM Treasury-funded £8 million programme to redesign our operating model and business processes to achieve greater efficiency.

The first two years of the programme focused on laying the foundations for transformational change in the Commission to enable efficiency savings and build its reputation as an efficient, risk-led regulator.



Date: 13th November, 2017
Author: Wendy Bambrick


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