Following recent controversies in the charities sector, charity legislation which has been in place since 2009 will at last come into force later this year.

The Act aims to ensure greater accountability by charities, enhance public trust and increase transparency.

It is vital for all charities and directors of charities to understand the implications of the new regulatory environment which will come into force under the Act later this year.

Key Provisions include:

  • The establishment of a new Charities Regulatory Authority, an independent regulatory body for the sector which is to operate in a manner that is both regulatory and supportive
  • The introduction of offences applicable to directors, managers, secretaries and other officers of body corporates
  • The dissolution of the Charity Commissioners
  • The establishment and maintenance of a mandatory public register of charities
  • The modernisation of fundraising legislation
  • Mandatory filing of accounts and activity reports by charities
  • A statutory definition of ‘charitable purpose’
  • Provisions in relation to conflicts of interest
  • Provisions for indemnity insurance for directors

Úna Ní Dhubhghaill was appointed as the first Chief Executive of the new Charities Regulatory Authority (the “Authority”) in March and on 30 April 2014, sixteen appointments were announced to the board of the Authority including the appointment of Conor Woods as Chairperson.

Charities and directors of charities should consider a full review of their organisation as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition on commencement of the legislation.  Particular consideration should be given to governance, accounting and fundraising functions and property use and ownership.