By Andrew Holt

The Charity Commission has today launched a new tool to help charities find umbrella and infrastructure bodies offering tailored advice and support.

As part of its wider partnership programme, the Commission has developed new pages of its website allowing charities to access information about the support provided by over 40 umbrella and infrastructure groups.

The Commission hopes the pages will help charities identify the ‘best fit’ umbrella body for their needs, and will encourage more charities to make use of the support available within the sector.

Each organisation’s entry also sets out how it is working with the Commission – for instance by developing standard governing documents for their members, or co-ordinating applications for charity registration.

Among the partners highlighted is PTA-UK, the only charitable organisation supporting parent teacher associations (PTAs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It has nearly six decades of experience providing information, advice and guidance on running a PTA, including subscription-linked insurance. 70% of its 13,750 members are registered charities, making it one of the biggest charity networks in the UK.

The new pages also list organisations that help build capacity in the sector, including professional advice groups such as the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) and support bodies such as the Ethical Property Foundation which helps charities and community groups make the best use of property for society and the environment.

The Commission’s partnership programme is designed to improve charities’ access to tailored advice and promote trustees’ compliance with their legal duties and responsibilities.

Commenting on the new tools, the Charity Commission’s chief executive Sam Younger, said: “These new pages demonstrate the wide range of existing support and help available to charities.

"I would encourage all trustees whose charities are not already members of an umbrella body to review the list and consider joining one of our partner umbrella bodies. Being a member of a wider network grants charities access to both formal professional advice and to valuable peer support. I hope charities find this new information useful."

The Commission says it is not currently looking to expand its partnership network, but is concentrating on developing its relationship with existing partners.

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