In 2015 the Charity Commission released an updated version to its Annual Return which needs to be completed each year by all but the smallest of clients.
This follows the revisions in 2014 and continues the Charity Commission’s desire for Charities and their Trustees to be more transparent about their activities, policies and where their money comes from.
The three additional questions cover the following:-
-The amount of income received from contracts or grants from Central or Local Government;
-Whether the charity has a policy on paying staff;
-Has the charity received its financial controls?
The first question will enable the Charity Commission to gauge the level of Government support to the charity sector. However, the other two questions will require careful consideration by the Trustees as a negative answer will alert the Commission to a possible weakness in the charity’s governance.
The Annual Return is not just a tick box exercise to be carried out by the Finance Officer. All questions need to be properly considered by the Trustees collectively and we fully recommend that Trustees review in detail their governance and risk assessments each year and ensure they are fully documented in their meeting minutes.
Further changes are expected to the format of the 2016 Annual Return.