Charity Commission publishes new public benefit guidance

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In September the Charity Commission published new public benefit guidance for all charities.  Trustees must have regard to this guidance when administering their charity.

The guidance is split into three short, high level guides:

  • Public Benefit: the public benefit requirement
  • Public Benefit: running a charity
  • Public Benefit: reporting

These explain what is required to show that an organisation is a charity (by having purposes that are for the public benefit), what trustees’ duties are in carrying out those purposes for the public benefit, and how trustees should report on the public benefit their charity provides in their annual report.

The guides also explain that the trustees of charities which charge fees for services or facilities that the poor cannot afford must make provision for the poor to benefit.  It is for trustees (rather than the Commission or the courts) to decide how to do this, but they must act reasonably and make more than a minimal provision.  This reflects the decision of the Upper Tribunal following a successful challenge by the Independent Schools Council in 2011.

Trustees should ensure that they read and understand the new guidance, including any additional guidance relating to the charity’s particular area of activity.

For more information please contact Joanne Davison on call 0191 211 7958.