Press release: David Holdsworth appointed chief operating officer at Charity Commission

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities for England and Wales, has appointed David Holdsworth as its new chief operating officer. David joined the commission as head of operations in August 2015.

David has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors at an executive leadership level. He spent over a decade at the Home Office, including in senior operational roles in the Immigration Service, where he led several large UK wide transformation projects. He also held various policy roles in the Home Office and was a deputy chief caseworker.

More recently, David has spent 5 years in the private sector in senior executive positions, including as managing director and partnership director at 2 different FTSE 100 companies.

The chief operating officer is accountable for all of the commission’s case work, except for that involving the highest risks, and for its ‘digital by default’ agenda. Driving maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the commission’s frontline services and at the same time ensuring excellence in customer service is a key objective of this role. The COO leads the teams that carry out:

  • assessment and allocation of all incoming work to the commission
  • registration of new charities
  • permissions and consents casework and some higher risk work (short of a formal inquiry, which is carried out in Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement)
  • the annual return programme
  • the commission’s web presence (via GOV.UK)

On taking up his new appointment, David Holdsworth said:

In my first few months at the commission, I have been impressed with the people that I have met across the directorate. I am really looking forward to leading the teams through the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

David takes over from CEO Paula Sussex, who has also been acting COO. Paula Sussex said:

I am very pleased to welcome David to the commission. He completes our senior team and his expertise will be invaluable. David has already contributed greatly by leading changes to the way we manage and oversee our casework. He will take the lead on our wider digital strategy to improve customer experience and increase operational capacity.

The commission is now recruiting a new head of operations. This is an exciting time to join the operations directorate, leading the 3 operations teams based in Taunton, Newport and Liverpool (around 35 staff). These teams carry out complex compliance and permissions case work. Details of the role can be found at



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