The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is a non-departmental public body, established by Royal Assent in March 2009, to deliver the legislative requirements of the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. The Commission is sponsored by the Department for Communities (DfC) and has a number of legal functions where it uses powers similar to those of the High Court.
As the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, the Commission has a crucial role to play in the development of charities, enabling them to meet modern expectations and obligations. It is essential that the Commission enables charities to operate in a climate of trust and respect by providing firm and fair regulation in which the public can have confidence.
The Commission therefore aims to develop a regulatory framework which is not only about intervention and strong governance, but which also establishes standards and promotes good practice across the sector.
The Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 states that the Commission must keep a publicly accessible register of all charities in Northern Ireland. The Commission commenced charity registration in Northern Ireland for the first time in December 2013, beginning the process of registering the thousands of charitable organisations operating in Northern Ireland. It is estimated that there are between 7,000 and 12,000 charities operating in Northern Ireland so registration will be a managed process, expected to take three to four years to complete in full.
Our governance explains how we work to fulfill our vision, mission and values whilst remaining independent. It also explains what members of the Commission do to ensure the ways they carry out their public duties are not (or do not appear to be) influenced by their private interests. For further information on the governance of the Commission, please visit Our governance section.