The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the registrar and regulator of charities (www.practicallaw.com/7-506-5262) in England and Wales.
It is a corporate body and a non-ministerial government department.
The Commission has five objectives:
To increase public trust and confidence in charities.
To promote awareness and understanding of the operation of the public benefit requirement.
To promote compliance by charity trustees (www.practicallaw.com/2-383-8335) with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of the administration of their charities.
To promote the effective use of charitable resources.
To enhance the accountability of charities to donors, beneficiaries and the general public.
(Section 14, Charities Act 2011 (ChA 2011).)
The Commission has six general functions:
To determine whether or not institutions are charities.
To encourage and facilitate the better administration of charities.
To identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities and to take remedial or protective action in connection with misconduct or mismanagement in charities.
To determine whether public collections certificates should be issued, and remain in force, for public charitable collections.
To obtain, evaluate and disseminate information in connection with the performance of any of its functions or meeting any of its objectives (including maintaining an accurate and up-to-date register of charities).
To give information or advice, or make proposals, to any Minister of the Crown (www.practicallaw.com/9-383-9181) on matters relating to any of its functions or meeting any of its objectives.
(Section 15, ChA 2011.)
The Commission must comply with the following six general duties when performing its functions or managing its affairs:
So far as reasonably practicable, it must act in a way which is compatible with the encouragement of all forms of charitable giving and voluntary participation in charity work.
It must have regard to the need to use its resources in the most efficient, effective and economic way.
So far as relevant, it must have regard to the principles of best regulatory practice (these include the principles that its regulatory activities must be proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted only at cases in which action is needed).
In appropriate cases, it must have regard to the desirability of facilitating innovation by or on behalf of charities.
It must have regard to such generally accepted principles of good corporate governance as it is reasonable to regard as applicable to it.
(Section 16, ChA 2011.)
For more information about the Charity Commission, its activities and resources, see the following Practice notes: