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Last updated August 2021


ACO acts to protect and promote the interests of its members. We are an effective voice for organisations helping people in need, talking to government and regulators to ensure your interests are represented.

Lobbying in a world of policy change

ACO defends the sector’s interests so organisations can concentrate on what they do best: helping people in need.

Public benefit

When the Attorney General, at the instigation of the Charity Commission, asked the Upper Tribunal to consider whether charities whose beneficiaries are derived from a limited group still met the public benefit test in light of the changes in the 2006 Charities Act ACO sprang into action to defend our member’s charitable status. We worked with members to share costs and avoid legal duplication and its approach not only gained commendation from the judges but ensured that the case confirmed the charitable status of member charities.

Abolition of cheques

When the banks suggested the phasing out of cheques ACO worked with the Payments Council to ensure the cheque, a mainstay of making donations and paying out grants, was retained. The proposal was withdrawn.

Keep the Safety Net

ACO and its members have lobbied to save funding for local welfare provision, the last resort for many vulnerable people, for over a year, being a founder member of the Keep the Safety Net campaign. As a result of our work, local welfare provision funding was partially saved, with councils promised £74m of cash in 2015-16 rather than nothing at all.

During the year ACO has been in contact with the Disclosure & Barring Service, Financial Conduct Authority, Law Commission, Charity Commission, National Audit Office highlighting issues of interest and concern to ACO members.