On 3 September 2020, the Charity Commission launched its new public register of charities, which makes more information about charities available to donors and the public.

The new information is intended to “widen the public’s window” to increase transparency and accountability on where charity money goes and how efficiently resources are used by charities.

The register is said by the Commission to receive 40 million page views a year. On the new register, a charity’s profile now shows:

  • Regulatory alerts, which show whether or not a charity is or has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny by the Commission;
  • the number of staff within a charity that receive total income packages over £60,000;
  • whether trustees, who are usually volunteers, are paid for their services to the charity;
  • any income that individual charities receive from government grants and contracts;
  • whether a charity works with a professional funder; and
  • whether or not a charity has specific policies in place, including on safeguarding.

There is a new tool on the register that allows potential supporters (donors or grant makers) or those thinking of setting up a new charity to search for charities in their area, or to identify charities that promote a certain cause. There are also new data download functions to help sector professionals better analyse information about the charity sector as a whole, including trends and developments in the size and make-up of the sector.

The Commission says it will continue to improve the way it makes information about individual charities and the sector as a whole available to the public. The Commission is moving immediately into a second phase of work, which will include improvements to its register data sharing. This will allow web and app developers to assess and analyse the data or display it on their own websites more easily in line with open data principles, and is part of the Commission’s aim for the register to better maximise the benefit charities bring to society. The Commission is looking to continue to improve the search tool, and has requested feedback on the new register from members of the public, funders and charities themselves.

We recommend that all trustees review the information of their charities on the register to update any outdated information.