Charities to have their say on new interim reporting requirements

‘Ensure your voice is heard and let us know what you think of our interim reporting proposals for charities’ – that was the message this week from Northern Ireland’s independent regulator of charities.

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland will open a consultation on Monday 23 September 2013 on its interim reporting proposals for charities – providing an opportunity for everyone to have their say and help shape the policy before it goes live next year.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Commission, explained: "At present, charities are not required to submit annual monitoring returns or accounts and reports to the Commission for inspection.

"This will change after compulsory registration of charities begins later this year with annual reporting by charities playing an important role in the Commission’s regulation and monitoring work.

"In preparation for that, we are opening a public consultation on our draft interim reporting proposals and calling on anyone with an interest in charities to have a look at our proposals and share their thoughts with us."

Annual return

To make the process for regulation and monitoring of charities as accessible and smooth as possible, the reporting requirements for all newly registered charities in Northern Ireland will be introduced on a phased basis.

Under phase one – the interim requirements - registered charities will have to submit an annual return, including their annual accounts and reports in the format they currently prepare them, to the Commission for annual inspection.

Under the second phase, and in accordance with new accounting and reporting regulations expected to come into operation for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015, charities will be required to prepare their accounts and provide external scrutiny reports as laid out in the regulations. The Commission’s consultation will focus on the interim proposals, with a further consultation by the Department for Social Development on the ‘full’ accounting and reporting regulations next year.

Fiona Muldoon, the Commission’s Monitoring and Compliance Manager commented: "It is important that charities report on their activities, governances and finances, which ensures the public can access an up-to-date register of charities and encourages transparency and openness amongst all charities.

"I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to engage with us during our public consultation - we are committed to listening to our stakeholders and we value all the feedback and opinions we receive."

The Commission’s Charity Reporting Requirements Consultation will open at 9am on Monday 23 September 2013 and run for 12 weeks, closing at 4.30pm on Friday 13 December.

There will be a series of consultation events taking place across Northern Ireland, beginning with a joint consultation with Queens University Management School, Belfast, on the interim reporting proposals and the new Charity SORP (Statement of Recommended Practice). This will be held at Riddell Hall, Belfast on 4 October 2013. For more information on this event, or to book a place please contact Ciaran Connolly via email at at c.j.connolly@qub.ac.uk or telephone 028 9097 4796. All consultation documents, including contact details, event information and how you can take part in the consultation, will available on the Current Consultations section of the Commission’s website www.charitycommissionni.org.uk on Monday 23 September.

ENDS

For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email: shirley.kernan@charitycommissionni.org.uk

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