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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Consultation now open: proposed action for charities that have failed basic compliance checks

The Commission is seeking views on action it proposes to take when the accounts and reports of registered charities fail basic compliance testing.

Basic compliance checks are checks carried out on annual monitoring returns (AMRs) submitted by registered charities under the annual reporting programme. The aim is to ensure that the information submitted complies with the fundamental requirements of charity legislation.

When an AMR fails a basic compliance check the Commission contacts the charity trustees to advise where they have not complied with their legal obligations and to provide regulatory advice, which must be complied with.

The Commission carries out basic compliance checks on a proportion of AMRs submitted. Not all returns are checked; as this is a manual check, the proportion of checks conducted is reliant on resources.

For example, in the 2017-18 financial year, the Commission conducted basic compliance checks on 53 per cent of AMRs received. Unfortunately, one in three AMRs checked failed the basic compliance checks. This level of compliance is not only unacceptable, it is also unfair to charity trustees who ensure the AMR for their charity complies with the regulations and is submitted by the deadline.

In order to improve compliance levels and keep the public informed, the Commission proposes indicating on a charity’s register entry whether they have been subject to a basic compliance check. Any charity which fails a basic compliance check will be provided with guidance by the Commission. Where a charity fails to comply with the regulatory guidance provided, the Commission proposes to change the entry on the register of charities to read: Failed.

The consultation is seeking your views on that proposal. We would like to hear from charity trustees, staff, volunteers and beneficiaries, umbrella bodies, helper groups, funders, donors and other regulators. As the register of charities is designed to increase transparency and contribute to public confidence in the sector we also welcome views from fundraisers and members of the public.

This eight-week consultation will run from 26 September 2018 to 21 November 2018. Comments received will support the Commission in ensuring that the compliance action it takes is proportionate, transparent and fair.

How can you engage with the Commission during this comment phase?

We encourage you to get involved, and have a say on the Commission’s proposed compliance action. There are a variety of ways you can provide your feedback on the draft proposals:

1. Read the Commission’s proposed compliance action document and complete an online questionnaire which is available here.

2. Complete the questions in the consultation document below and either:

  • email it to or
  • post it to Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, 257 Lough Road, Lurgan, Northern Ireland, BT66 6NQ

Download Compliance action for failed accounts - consultation document DOCX (1.1 MB)

Comments should be submitted as early as possible and before 5pm on Wednesday 21 November 2018.

You can also keep updated on our engagement, and other Commission news, via our Twitter feed @CharitycomNI using #NIcharities

If you would like to take part in this consultation and have any accessibility requirements which we should be aware of, please do not hesitate to contact us and let us know.

In completing the consultation questionnaire, you will be asked to voluntarily provide some personal data. We encourage you to read the Commission’s Privacy notice which sets out what the Commission does with this information.