Charity Commission for England and Wales

The Charity Commission for England and Wales is the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales and maintains the Central Register of Charities.

The Charity Commission answers directly to the UK Parliament rather than to Government ministers. It is governed by a board, which is assisted by the Chief Executive (currently Helen Stephenson CBE who succeeded Paula Sussex in July 2017) and an executive team.[2]

The current Chair is Tina Stowell, Baroness Stowell of Beeston MBE, who succeeded William Shawcross in 2018.

The commission has four sites in London, Taunton, Liverpool and Newport. Its website lists the latest accounts submitted by charities in England and Wales.

Charity Commission
for England and Wales
Charity Commission logo
Non-ministerial government department overview
Formed27 February 2007
Superseding agency
  • Charity Commission
JurisdictionEngland and Wales
HeadquartersPetty France, London
Annual budget£22.9 million (2016-2017)[1]
Non-ministerial government department executives
Key document

Exempt, excepted, and other non-registered charities

Some charities are not subject to regulation by or registration with the Charity Commission, because they are already regulated by another body, and are known as exempt charities. Most exempt charities are listed in Schedule 3 to the Charities Act 2011, but some charities are made exempt by other acts. However exempt charities must still comply with charity law and may approach the Charity Commission for advice.

Some charities are 'excepted' from charity registration. This means they do not have to register or submit annual returns, but are in all other respects subject to regulation by the Charity Commission. A charity is excepted if its income is £100,000 or less and it is in one of the following groups: churches and chapels belonging to certain Christian denominations; charities that provide premises for some types of schools; Scout and Guide groups; and charitable service funds of the armed forces.

In addition, if a charity's income is below the normal threshold for registration (£5,000), then it is not required to be registered with the Charity Commission. Nevertheless, it remains subject to regulation by the Charity Commission in all other respects.

Charities operating across other national borders within the United Kingdom

Registration of a charity in England and Wales does not endow that status elsewhere, thus further registration has to be made before operating in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Charities in Scotland are regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

In Northern Ireland the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland was established in 2009 to replace earlier regulation by the Voluntary and Community Unit of the Department for Social Development, part of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Regulatory action

The Commission carries out general monitoring of charities as part of its regular casework. It also has powers set out in the Charities Acts to conduct statutory investigations. However, opening a full statutory inquiry into a charity has a detrimental effect on the relationship with the regulator and can frustrate the intention to achieve a positive outcome. The Commission therefore began around 2007 to carry out an intermediate form of action described as regulatory compliance investigations. In 2010 it opened over 140 of these cases, compared to just three full statutory investigations. However, the legality of these actions was debatable as they lacked a statutory basis. A high-profile example was the Commission's report into The Atlantic Bridge, after which that body was dissolved in September 2011. The Commission announced in October 2011, in the context of cost-cutting and a re-focussing of its activities, that it would no longer carry out regulatory compliance investigations.[3][4]

Some of the activities of the Commission have been questioned by the Public Administration Select Committee, which oversees the Commission's work. For instance on 23 October 2012, Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover accused the Commission of "suppressing Christianity", after the Committee heard that a religious group was refused charitable status by the Charity Commission, despite the group’s attempts to demonstrate that it undertook genuine charitable works.[5] Elphicke asked at the hearing if the Commission was "actively trying to suppress religion in the UK, particularly the Christian religion" and stated "I think they [the Commission] are committed to the suppression of religion".[6]


Prior to the 1840s, a body of Commissioners had been established by the Statue of Charitable Uses 1601, but these proved ineffective. The Charity Commission was first established by the Charitable Trusts Act 1853. There had been several attempts at reforming charities before that which had been opposed by various interest groups including the church, the courts, the companies, and the universities.[7] The power of the commission was strengthened by amendments to the act in 1855, 1860, and 1862.[8]

The Charities Act 2006 established its current structure and name.[9]

As of 31 March 2015 the commission had 288 employees and 19 agency staff in post.[10]

Charity tax law

The Finance Act 2010 extended charitable tax benefits (for example Gift Aid) to charities within EU member states, Norway and Iceland, rather than those just inside the UK.[11]

Chairs of the Commission

Chief Charity Commissioner

Prior to restructuring in 2006, the equivalent of chair was the Chief Charity Commissioner.

  • Richard Fries (1992-1999)
  • John Stoker (1999–2004)
  • Geraldine Peacock (2004–2006), latterly acting Chair
Chair of the Charity Commission

From 2006 the role of Chief Charity Commissioner was replaced with those of Chair and Chief Executive of the Charity Commission

See also


  1. ^ "Annual Report 2016-2017". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Our Governance". Charity Commission for England and Wales. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  3. ^ Mason, Tania (17 October 2011). "Commission to scrap regulatory compliance cases". Civil Society. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  4. ^ Mason, Tania (20 October 2011). "Atlantic Bridge-style investigations were unlawful, say charity lawyers". Civil Society. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  5. ^ "MP says Charity Commission refusal to grant Plymouth Brethren charitable status is 'suppression of religion'".
  6. ^ "Charity Commission accused of suppressing Christianity".
  7. ^ "Charity Commission 1853-1960". The National Archives.
  8. ^ Peter R. Elson (May 2010). "The Origin of the Species: Why Charity Regulations in Canada and England Continue to Reflect Their Origins". The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law. 12 (3).
  9. ^ "Charity Commission, A Hampton Implementation Review Report". Department for Business Innovation and Skills. March 2010.
  10. ^ Charity Commission Annual Report 2014−2015 (PDF), Charity Commission for England and Wales, retrieved 8 March 2016
  11. ^ "The charities' guide to the Finance Act 2010". Sift Media. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  12. ^ "No. 27171". The London Gazette. 6 March 1900. p. 1522.

External links

Afghan Relief

The objects of this Trust were to relieve poverty and sickness and promote health and advance education amongst refugees from Afghanistan during the Russian occupation.The charity was registered on 25 July 1984 and was wound-up on 3 October 2002. Registered Charity Commission for England and Wales Number 289910.

Bourne United Charities

Bourne United Charities is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Its purpose is the joint administration of several legacies dedicated for the relief of poverty, the provision of housing and accommodation and environmental, conservation or heritage objectives in the Parish of Bourne. The nine principal endowments are:

John Brown

William Fisher for Almshouses

William Fisher for Bread

Robert Harrington

Jeremiah Ives

North Fen Poor's Land

South Fen Poor's Land

Nicholas Rand

William Trollope

Charities Commission

Charities Commission or Charity Commission may refer to:

Charities Commission (New Zealand), the former name of Charities Services

Charity Commission for England and Wales, the non-ministerial government department that regulates registered charities in England and Wales

Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, the independent regulator of Northern Ireland charities

Church Commissioners

The Church Commissioners is a body managing the historic property assets of the Church of England. It was set up in 1948 combining the assets of Queen Anne's Bounty, a fund dating from 1704 for the relief of poor clergy, and of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners formed in 1836. The Church Commissioners are a registered charity regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and are liable for the payment of pensions to retired clergy whose pensions were accrued before 1998 (subsequent pensions are the responsibility of the Church of England Pensions Board.

The Secretary (and chief executive) of the Church Commissioners is Andrew Brown.

City Chapel London

City Chapel London is a church in Beckton, East London.The church was founded and planted by Dr Jonathan and Abbiih Oloyede, who have over 15 years pastoral and ministry experience. It was founded in autumn 2008 in collaboration with friends and regional networks, and was registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 13 February 2009.In 2010, the church started the Newham Foodbank, which is now run by the Trussell Trust in partnership with local churches led by City Chapel. In 2011 the church registered The East London City Projects.

City Chapel is now affiliated with the Evangelical Alliance.

Design Council

The Design Council, formerly the Council of Industrial Design, is a United Kingdom charity incorporated by Royal Charter. Its stated mission is "to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better".

It was instrumental in the promoting of the concept of inclusive design.The Design Council's archive is located at the University of Brighton Design Archives.The Design Council operates two subsidiaries, the Design Council Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Design Council CABE) and Design Council Enterprises Limited.

HWD Hospital Radio

HWD Hospital Radio is a hospital radio station which broadcasts to the patients and staff of Dewsbury and District Hospital in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The station is member of the Hospital Broadcasting Association and is registered as a charity with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 227515.

Higher Education Funding Council for England

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) was a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom, which was responsible for the distribution of funding for higher education to universities and further education colleges in England since 1992. It ceased to exist as of 1 April 2018, when its duties were divided between the newly created Office for Students and Research England (operating within United Kingdom Research and Innovation).

Most universities are charities and HEFCE (rather than the Charity Commission for England and Wales) was their principal regulator. HEFCE therefore had the duty to promote compliance with charity law by the universities for which it was responsible.

Islamic Charitable Society

The Islamic Charitable Society is a non-profit charitable organisation located in Hebron in the West Bank. The charity was founded in 1962 to take care of orphans and expanded through years. It is now responsible for two orphanages, three schools for boys and girls, dairy, sewing workshop, two bakeries, a large mall and a 30-apartment building.According to a 2006 episode of the BBC's series, the Islamic Charitable Society has received funding from Interpal and is associated with Hamas. Citing the Charity Commission for England and Wales and a draft report from the U.S. Treasury's Asset Freezing Working Group, it was alleged on that the Islamic Charitable Society has "a well-documented supporting role within the Hamas infrastructure" and that it had "funded and administered educational programmes that appear tantamount to incitement and indoctrination in support of violent Hamas activity."

Limbless Association

The Limbless Association is a charitable organization in the United Kingdom set up to help those with limb loss, and assist their families and carers. It is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales and its charity registration number is 803533. The association provides information, advice, and support for people of all ages who are without one or more limbs.

Minhaj-ul-Quran UK

Minhaj-ul-Quran UK is the UK branch of the Minhaj-ul-Quran International education and welfare organisation based in London. MQI started its work in the United Kingdom in 1986 and held its first international conference at Wembley Arena, London. Its first official centre was opened in 1994 in east London. Since then Minhaj-ul-Quran UK has opened 10 community centres serving all parts of the country. It claims to have tens of thousands of affiliates and more than 5000 regular members.Minhaj-ul-Quran UK is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales.It organised the launch of Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri's Fatwa on Terrorism in March 2010 in which various government officials participated. Times Online claims that Minhaj-ul-Quran UK advises the British government on how to combat radicalism.BBC News reported that Minhaj-ul-Quran is "attracting the attention of policymakers and security chiefs who are continuing to look for allies in the fight against extremists." The Times reported that "It is gaining influence in Britain as the Government seeks to gain ground among Muslim groups eager to combat the radicalisation of young people."In August 2010 Minhaj-ul-Quran UK organised the first residential anti-terror camp 'al-hidayah 2010' which aimed to train more than 1300 young Muslims to rebut arguments of the extremists. A mobile library to promote moderate literature and to combat extremism was also launched at the camp.

Representative Body of the Church in Wales

The Representative Body of the Church in Wales is a registered charity, regulated by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, responsible for holding property and assets on behalf of the Church in Wales. It was set up in 1917 to oversee the financial arrangements of the new province of the Anglican Communion when the Church in Wales split off from the Church of England in 1920.

Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation

The Royal Patriotic Fund Corporation (also known as the Royal Pat) was a charitable body set up by Royal Warrant in the United Kingdom during the Crimean War. It provided assistance to the widows, orphans and other dependants of members of the armed forces. Under The Royal Patriotic Fund (Transfer Of Property, Rights And Liabilities) Order 2005 these responsibilities were transferred to RPFC, a charitable company limited by guarantee.The fund has both a General Council and a smaller Executive Committee, which handles the daily running of the organisation.

The fund was reorganized by the Patriotic Fund Reorganisation Act 1903.

RPFC was registered as a charity by the Charity Commission for England and Wales on 6 April 2005 and removed from the register on 23 September 2011.

Sam Younger

James Samuel Younger (born 5 October 1951) is a British media and charity manager.

Younger was managing director of the BBC World Service from 1994 to 1998, and chief executive of the British Red Cross from 1999 to 2001. He was the founding chairman of the United Kingdom Electoral Commission from 2001 to 2008 and the chief executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales from September 2010 to April 2014.He is also chair of the governing body of the University of Sussex and chairman of the Board of QAA.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.Younger is the son of Kenneth Younger, a Labour Minister under Clement Attlee.

Student Loans Company

The Student Loans Company (SLC) is a non-departmental public body company in the United Kingdom that provides student loans. It is owned by the UK Government's Department for Education (85%), the Scottish Government (5%), the Welsh Government (5%) and the Northern Ireland Executive (5%). The SLC is funded entirely by the UK government and the devolved administrations. It is responsible for both providing loans to students, and collecting loan repayments alongside HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The SLC's head office is in Glasgow, with other offices in Darlington and Llandudno.

Christian Brodie has been the organisation's non-executive chair since February 2014. Paula Sussex became its chief executive and accounting officer in September 2018. Prior to this, she was chief executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales.

The Atlantic Bridge

The Atlantic Bridge Research and Education Scheme was an educational charity founded in 1997 with Margaret Thatcher as its president to promote Atlanticism, an ideology of cooperation between the United Kingdom and the United States regarding political, economic, and defence issues. It was set up by Liam Fox, former Secretary of State for Defence of the United Kingdom. Cabinet ministers Michael Gove, George Osborne and William Hague, and Chris Grayling

have previously sat on its advisory panel, as have American senators Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman. The organisation's principal staff included Catherine Bray (US Executive Director), Adam Werritty (UK Executive Director) and Kara Watt (Operations Director).It was dissolved in September 2011, following a critical report from the Charity Commission the previous year.

The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency is a charity that works throughout the United Kingdom to harness the proven power of reading to tackle life’s big challenges like literacy, health and wellbeing and isolation and loneliness. Registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, it works closely with partners including public libraries, colleges and prisons to promote the benefits of reading among children and adults.

The Reading Agency is based out of Free Word Centre in Farringdon, London. Its main programme for children is the Summer Reading Challenge, which began in 1999. The Summer Reading Challenge is run with public libraries and encourages children to read six books during the school summer holiday. The Reading Agency also runs Chatterbooks children’s reading groups in schools and libraries across the UK.

The Reading Agency has a wide range of programmes for adults. It works with well-known authors and publishers to create short books called Quick Reads which are then sold in bookshops and used in libraries, prisons, hospitals, colleges and adult-learning organisations. Quick Reads will re-launch in 2020 and will be embedded in the organisation’s adult literacy programme, Reading Ahead, which runs in public libraries, prisons, adult learning organisations, colleges and workplaces across the UK.

The Reading Agency runs World Book Night, an annual national celebration of reading held on 23 April. In 2018, 97% of participating organisations rated their experience of taking part in World Book Night as Excellent or Good.The Reading Agency works closely with public libraries. Its Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme is delivered in partnership with Libraries Connected and is available in public libraries across England and Wales.

In 2018 The Reading Agency launched Reading Friends, a programme funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The goal is to tackle loneliness and isolation by starting conversations through reading. The Reading Agency is working with a wide range of partners across the UK to develop and test approaches which can then be rolled out more widely.

In addition, The Reading Agency supports over 4,000 reading groups providing them with advice and support and involving them in shadowing book prizes.

UK Islamic Mission

UK Islamic Mission (UKIM) is a registered charity and Islamic organization based in the United Kingdom. It is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), the UK's independent regulator for charity fundraising.UKIM that was formed in 1962 to "cater for the needs of a new growing Muslim community" in the UK. It started with the aim of meeting the needs of the British Muslim community by "establishing mosques for worship, catering for the religious education of children, organising religious and community functions, and producing basic literature on Islam in English."

William Shawcross

William Hartley Hume Shawcross, (born 28 May 1946, in Sussex, England) was the Chairman of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and a British writer and commentator.


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