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Charities must communicate better

The Charity Commission has published the results of its latest monitoring reviews of charity trustees’ annual reports and accounts. The findings reveal a modest improvement in the quality of public reporting, but the regulator says that too many charities are still falling short in this area.

Public benefit reporting plays a key role in providing transparency so that the public can understand exactly what a charity does and how their donations are being used.

As part of its proactive monitoring work, the Commission scrutinised a random sample of 106 charity trustees’ annual reports and accounts filed with it to assess how charities are meeting the public benefit reporting standards and whether the accounts meet readers’ needs, including a separate sample of small charities.

The Commission’s review found that 51% of the charities reviewed demonstrated a clear understanding of the public benefit reporting requirement – a 5% improvement from last year’s result. The majority of annual reports also included key aspects of public benefit reporting, with 71% explaining who benefitted from the charity’s activities, and 62% including a public benefit statement. Some trustees had expanded their statement to explain why they believed their charity’s activities provided public benefit, whilst others discussed the difference that they had made, particularly to beneficiaries.

Read The Charity Commission - Charity accounts monitoring reviews