Press release: Charity search tool: your views wanted

The commission has released a beta version of its new online charity search tool which makes it much easier to find and understand information about charities.

The regulator’s online data is the authoritative source of information on charities in England and Wales. Registered charities’ details are viewed online over 6 million times a year.

But the commission’s user research on its current charity search tool suggests that the information it provides on registered charities could be easier to find and understand.

The regulator is therefore developing a new charity search tool and has now released a beta version to encourage comments and suggestions for improvements from users.

Improvements in the new charity search tool include:

  • key information now more prominent, such as income and expenditure and charity contact details
  • easier viewing on mobile phones and tablets
  • more user-friendly search filtering options
  • a new option to download filtered searches as a CSV file
  • a look and feel consistent with other services on GOV.UK

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission says:

The new online charity search tool will help make charities more accountable to the public – and help the public to access the information they need to support charities with confidence.

We want to hear from as many users as possible over coming days and weeks about changes and improvements they think we can make. I encourage everyone to try out the beta version of the new tool and let us know how they get on.

Later updates to the beta will include additional information from charities’ annual returns, including whether a charity:

  • pays its trustees
  • raises funds from the public and whether it uses a commercial participator to do so
  • is a member of FRSB and therefore committed to high fundraising standards
  • has a trading subsidiary
  • makes grants to other charities as one of its main activities
  • has written policies on safeguarding vulnerable beneficiaries, risk management, investment or conflicts of interest
  • is regulated by or registered with other agencies such as Ofsted, Care Quality Commission and Homes and Communities Agency

The existing search tool remains available until it is replaced by the new version later this year – users can currently choose which version to use. Beta versions are an important way for government departments to gather feedback and data on digital services in order to make them better.

The new search tool is being built as a web service on an open data platform. This encourages transparency and makes it easier for other organisations to develop digital tools that use charity data.

Feedback can be given through an online survey within the search tool.

Ends

PR 15/15


Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
  2. Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
    • charities know what they have to do
    • the public know what charities do
    • charities are held to account

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