Regulator launches new online charity register to provide more information to public

The Charity Commission has launched a new online charity register to allow the public to have greater insight into how charities are run.

The regulator said the new and improved public register 'widens the public's window' into how third sector organisations are managed by making more information about individual charities available to donors and the public.

Around 40 million people currently use the regulator's 'check a charity' facility a year, showcasing the public's need for greater transparency.

The new and improved register aims to increase the level of transparency, providing donors and the public with more information about where charity money goes and the efficient use of resources.

'Regulatory alerts' will be issued when a charity has been held to account by the regulator, highlighting the specific action taken or underway.

Furthermore, financial information will be available, including the number of staff within a charity that receive total income packages over £60,000 and whether trustees are paid for their services. It also highlights income that individual charities receive from government grants and contracts.

The new display also shows whether individual charities work with a professional fundraiser and whether they have specific policies in place, including on safeguarding.

Better service for charities

The new display is also designed to make it easier for trustees to access and update their charity’s information with the Commission.

New data download functions also aim to help sector professionals better analyse information about the charity sector as a whole, including trends and developments in the size and make-up of the sector.

An additional function of the tool will allow potential supporters – donors or grant makers – or those thinking of setting up a new charity to search for charities in their area, or to identify charities that promote a certain cause.

Charity Commission CEO, Helen Stephenson CBE said she hopes the new display will "encourage charities to continue to respond to growing public expectations around transparency and accountability".

"Recent months have demonstrated the volunteering spirit of the British public and its generous support for charities. The Commission’s online register has an important role to play in ensuring that generosity supports good causes, and we continue to urge people to check the register before donating to be sure that their money is going to a genuine charity," she said.

"By widening the public’s window into how individual charities are run, and how they spend their money, we hope people will also now feel able to make more informed choices about how and where they give.

"We know the public expect the way charities go about their work to be consistent with the spirit of charity, and the new mirror we are holding up to the sector should help charities respond to those expectations."

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