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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Charity regulator publishes new equality guidance for charities

Northern Ireland’s charity regulator has this week published new guidance to support charities in understanding the complexities of equality legislation as it affects them.

Available to download free here, the guidance is a vital resource for anyone starting or running a charity in Northern Ireland today.

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, commented: “Charity trustees have a duty to ensure their charity complies with all aspects of the law as it affects them.

“That’s why it is so important trustees, their staff, service users and supporters understand how charities may be affected by the equality obligations contained in Northern Ireland legislation.

“Our guidance covers the often complex intersection between charity and equality law, providing information on key issues, including what exceptions apply to charities and what is and isn’t acceptable under the law.”

Equality legislation requires service providers, including charities, not to discriminate on certain grounds when they provide services to the public. 

There are, however, some exceptions for charities which allow them to be established or operate for the benefit of certain groups of people, and not others. 

The new Equality guidance for charities provides an overview of these key aspects of equality legislation as well as signposting to relevant support.

The guidance was developed by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland with the assistance of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and is available from the Charity essentials section.


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07827338978 or email:

Notes to editors

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the regulator of charities in Northern Ireland.

In keeping with its function as charity regulator, the Commission has produced a wide range of guidance to assist and support charities in meeting their requirements under charity law. This includes guidance on registering as a charity in Northern Ireland, the public benefit requirement and annual reporting requirements.

The Commission ran a public consultation on its draft Equality guidance for charities in Northern Ireland over 12 weeks, from Tuesday 3 February 2015 until Tuesday 28 April 2015. 

Following this public consultation, the Commission collated and analysed the responses it received before finalising and publishing the guidance. The consultation report, which includes a summary of the responses received, is available to read or download from the Closed consultations section of the website.