Concerns expressed over charities declaring annual spending figures

The Directory of Social Change is speaking out on behalf of smaller charities to express his concerns about declaring information on spending activity in their annual returns to the Charity Commission.

The commission proposes in the consultation document that charities with an income of over £10,000 a year should put forward information on how much of their total expenditure was spent on campaigning activities. They are also asking for information on how much of their income was generated from public service delivery and private donations.

The information is expected to help “improve the accountability and transparency of charities and respond to increased public appetite for information, enabling donors to access detailed information on where charity’s funds are received from, and spent”.

But Jude Doherty, policy coordinator at the DSC, responded to the consultation by saying:

“We are concerned by the question on campaign costs. This came from the Public Administration Select Committee, but we don’t think they made the case well enough. We’re disappointed the suggestion has made it this far when really the commission ought to be robustly defending campaigning as a legitimate charitable activity.”

The commission’s consultation also urges charities to declare whether or not they have a remuneration policy for paying their executive staff in their annual reports.

Doherty said that the DSC was also opposed to that proposal:

“The annual return is a useful tool for compiling data on the sector and monitoring compliance, which we obviously favour. However, it is also a regulatory tool and we don’t agree that the regulatory case exists for the inclusion of some of the new questions. Why ask solely about chief executive pay policies when this will not even be an issue for most of the sector?”

He added that the question was especially irrelevant for charities that had incomes of between £10,000 and £500,000 per year that don’t have a paid chief executive or equivalent.

Source: Third Sector

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