22 Feb 2018

The Charity Commission has opened a consultation on draft guidance for charities that are connected to non-charitable organisations.

The Charity Commission has opened a consultation on draft guidance for charities that are connected to non-charitable organisations.

This draft guidance is for charities that have connections with one or more non-charitable organisation; that is, where the relationship has been created or is being maintained through deliberately having one or more of the following:

  • the same people (trustees/directors) involved at the charity and the non-charitable organisation
  • shared names, branding, websites, and/or premises
  • regular funding flowing from one organisation to the other
  • shared aims or purposes
  • shared staff

It is not aimed at charities that work together with other organisations to which they have no connection.

The Commission stresses that it is common for charities to have close connections with non-charities, for example trading subsidiaries or charities established by commercial businesses, and that this is not a concern in principle.

However, it says that trustees must manage these relationships properly in order to fulfil their legal duties and maintain public trust and confidence. It is vital that the public can easily distinguish between the charity and the connected non-charitable organisation, particularly where, for example, they share a very similar name.

The regulator says that serious problems can arise when charities' relationships are not managed appropriately, and that a number of its case reports in recent years involve concerns about trustees' handling of these matters.

It says it is keen to hear charities' views on the guidance, especially those charities that are closely connected to non-charitable organisations. It is also interested in feedback from other interested parties, such as charity legal advisers. It is organising round-tables to facilitate discussions about the guidance.

The deadline for responses is 15th May 2018

How to respond

You can respond to the consultation on the Charity Commission's website (scroll down to the survey link at the bottom of the page)

WCVA will be responding to the consultation on behalf of the sector. If you would like to contribute to our response, please email your views to Mair Rigby mrigby@wcva.org.uk