Charities – 80% meet reporting deadline

The Charity Commission has labelled the first Charities Act monitoring exercise a resounding success after more than 80% of returns were submitted before the end-of-year deadline.

Speaking at a charity exhibition in London, chief commissioner Richard Fries said the signs were encouraging. ‘For the first time, the commission is able systematically to check what charities are doing in fulfillment of their objects and the resource basis for that,’ he said.

The requirement to submit monitoring reports follows implementation of part four of the 1993 Charities Act, which relates to reporting years starting 1 March 1996. The first cycle came to an end, including a ten-month period of grace for completing accounts and returns, at the end of 1998.

Fries warned the act had changed the commission’s relationship with charities and the commission would be learning from its experience.

‘It is early days – we are now analysing the results, both in terms of compliance with the requirements and the value of the material. But I can assure you that the commission does indeed follow up issues from monitoring,’ said Fries.

‘Reports and accounts should be readily available, without creating deadening, bureaucratic requirements.’

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