Our status

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland.

The Commission is a non-departmental public body, established by Royal Assent in March 2009, to deliver the legislative requirements of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.  The Commission is sponsored by the Department for Social Development (DSD) and has a number of legal functions where it uses powers similar to those of the High Court.

The Commission has a crucial role to play in the development of charities, enabling them to meet modern expectations and obligations. It is essential that the Commission enables charities to operate in a climate of trust and respect by providing firm and fair regulation in which the public can have confidence.

The Commission therefore aims to develop a regulatory framework which is not only about intervention and strong governance, but which over the longer term establishes standards and promotes good practice across the sector.

Our Governance Framework will explain how we work to fulfill our vision, mission and values whilst remaining independent. It will also explain what members of the Commission do to ensure the ways they carry out their public duties are not (or do not appear to be) influenced by their private interests. 

Further information on the governance of the Commission is available on our Governance page.

Charity Commission regulations 

Find out about the regulations we make under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.

Annual return regulations

The regulations (available to read or download below) outline the information to be included in charities' annual returns for a particular year. Find out more about charity reporting and annual returns by clicking here.

The Charity (Failed Appeals and Disclaimers) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

The Charity (Failed Appeals and Disclaimers) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 highlight a significant step in the Commission’s history, as the first regulations which the Commission has had the authority to make itself. The regulations came into effect on 1 July 2013.

A failed appeal occurs when an attempted appeal by a charity does not raise the target amount required, for example, an appeal to complete a particular project or to purchase a piece of equipment.

In the case of a failed appeal, the regulations state that one of two outcomes can occur.

  1. Charity trustees return all donations to the original donors and explain that the appeal has failed.
  2. Charity trustees can apply to the Commission for a scheme to be made to amend the original purpose(s) of the appeal to allow use of the funds raised. A scheme may also be needed when an excess of funds are donated, to allow the remainder to be used for another purpose. Donors should be informed at the outset that if the original appeal fails, their donation will be used for something similar.

A specimen form for donors to disclaim their right to have donated property returned can be found within the appendices to the regulations. A full copy of the 2013 regulations can be accessed by clicking here.

If you require the Commission to make a scheme for a failed appeal or would like further clarification or assistance, please contact us on:

Textphone: 028 3834 7639




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