The Charity Commission has published the following:


  • decision not to register Annuity Helpline as a charity. The commission stated it was not able to register the organisation as it was unable to establish that the organisation provided education in the charitable sense which develops the skills and competencies of the recipients. It was also difficult to see how the services provided by the organisation were for public benefit rather than to the personal benefit of individuals by facilitating improvement to their personal financial circumstances. 
  • decision to appoint interim trustees to the Masjid and Madrasah Al Tawhid Trust (1070735). This is an interesting example of the Commission actually stepping in to appoint trustees – the Commission has published a consultation on the proposed trustees, asking for feedback on their suitability.

Inquiry reports

St Paul’s School

Case reports

  • Surf Action – a Community Interest Company had “converted” into a charity but the CIC directors had not realised that meant they became charity trustees and therefore should no longer receive payment 
  • Africa Children’s Fund – among other things, the Commission was concerned about how charity funds had been spent, but as the charitable company was dissolved and struck off at Companies House in May, “it was not considered proportionate to pursue further the matter of how funds had previously been spent.” 
  • Deafinitions Limited – this related to unauthorised trustee benefit as three trustees were being paid as staff 
  • The Air Ambulance Service – issues included a failed fundraising event (where the charity lost £11k) and a £27k loan to a senior employee 

New inquiries

The Commission has opened statutory inquiries into the following charities:

Independent schools and public benefit

The Charity Commission has published a letter summarising its position on issues relating to the public benefit of independent schools raised by peers in the debates on the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill. It includes:

  • whether there is potential for more to be done to encourage charitable independent schools to consider sharing sporting facilities or other resources as part of their responsibility to operate for the public benefit
  • the commission’s intention to commission and publish independent research to assess the impact of initiatives to increase partnerships between charitable schools and the state sector

The Sport and Recreation Alliance has welcomed this as a step forward in opening up the sports facilities at independent schools for community use. 

Analysis of Commission work

The Commission has published analyses of:

Report on charities with low expenditure on charitable activity - as part of its ongoing work to monitor accounts submitted by charities, the Commission has analysed the accounts of 180 charities whose Annual Return showed spending on charitable activity was less than 10% of overall income. It concluded that in some cases this was explained by unexpectedly large donations/legacies and in some other cases the charity had actually spent more on charitable activity but not recorded this properly in its accounts/annual return. 

Annual Public Meeting

This meeting will take place on Wednesday 16 September 2015, Church House, Westminster. MP and author Frank Field will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Charity Commission Lecture, speaking about ‘A giving society?’ . Please click here for more information.

Judicial review of the Charity Commission 

The non-charitable organisation CAGE has been given permission to bring judicial review proceedings in relation to the Commission. The Commission will defend the proceedings.

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Christine Rigby

Senior Consultant

+44(0)20 7551 7712

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Posted on 01/08/2015 in Legal Updates

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