Press release: Charity Commission’s annual report for 2015-16 shows strong progress

The Charity Commission has today published its annual report for 2015-2016, which sets out its progress against the 4 priorities in our Strategic Plan. The report shows that we continue to make progress in our transformation programme and on the NAO’s recommendations, and to strengthen our approach to tackling abuse. We secured new powers in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

Digital transformation has been a key focus for the commission throughout 2015-16. The report shows that this year we launched an online annual return and a new online registration service, and are continuing to further digitise our processes and services and automate low-risk services. This is helping us achieve more with the same budget but also translates into a more streamlined user experience, more accurate data for the public on charities, and more staff time and resources to focus on strategic and high risk casework.

The comprehensive digital strategy is already showing results: this year the number of charities looking to register with us went up significantly, but using new ways of working we managed to reduce the average time it takes to register with us. Customer service times have also improved, with 90% of enquiries replied to within 15 days, up from 72% in 2014-15.

William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission, said:

Last week we published our research on public trust and confidence in charities, which found that public trust has fallen over the past 2 years. How to address this decline presents a significant challenge to the sector and to the commission as its regulator and will remain an important part of our work in the coming months. We believe strong governance is key to restoring trust.

Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

Our annual report tells the story of how we have promoted stronger governance in charities, how we have delivered against our strategic plan and made progress on the NAO’s recommendations. It also explains how we are continuing to digitally transform our work to achieve more with the same budget, improving our services to charities and making them faster.

The full report is available on GOV.UK. Paula Sussex, Chief Executive of the commission, will also today publish a blog post about the report. You can follow the conversation about our annual report at #ccannualreport.

Key figures from the report:

We regulate 165,334 charities and 16,455 subsidiaries, and those charities are governed by 850,000 trustees filling 950,000 positions.

As at 31 March 2016 the sector was worth £70.93 billion; our revenue budget is £21.2 million. That’s equivalent to each FTE staff member regulating £249 million in charity funds.

With those resources we:

  • considered 8,198 applications to register as a charity (2014-15: 7,192), of which 5,169 were registered (2014-15: 4,648)
  • opened 53 new inquiries (investigations into serious cases), (2014-15: 103); there were 135 live inquiries at the end of this year (2014-15: 132; 2013-14: 76)
  • made 1,073 uses of our legal compliance powers (2014-15: 1,062)
  • opened 1,327 (2014-15: 1,182) operational compliance cases and closed 1,309 (2014-15: 1,257)
  • opened 1,582 permissions cases – for example permission to change a charity’s objects or governing document – (2014-15: 1,169) and closed 1,617 (2014-15: 1,425)
  • replied to 90% of First Contact (customer service) enquiries within 15 days (2014-15: 72%)


PR 38/16

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Read about our Strategic Plan.

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