Regulator calls for charities to make themselves known
Northern Ireland’s charity regulator has issued a public call to all charities to ensure they are on the right path to meeting their legal obligations, which includes mandatory registration.
And the first step in the process is simple - ensure the regulator, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, knows your charity exists.
Nicole Lappin, Chief Charity Commissioner, explained: “The Commission is currently undertaking a mammoth task, which is to register every single charity in Northern Ireland.
“We currently have over 6,100 charities registered – as can be seen on the register of charities - and we also have a public list of charities which will be called forward to apply for registration in due course.
“However, we’re aware there are still many charities which we don’t know about, particularly smaller or new organisations and trusts, and we’re calling on the trustees of those organisations to ensure we have their contact details.”
Under charity law, all charities in Northern Ireland must apply to register with the Commission when contacted to do so. Once registered, the charity is then listed on the public register of charities, which includes information on their trustees, activities and public benefit, and must submit annual accounts and reports to the Commission.
However, while the Commission has registered over 6,100 charities to date – and is currently working through a further list of organisations which are to be assessed for registration, there may also be others the Commission does not know exist.
Mrs Lappin continued: “Charity registration is a legal process and it is important all charity trustees understand they have a duty to ensure their charity complies with the law.
“The first step is to ensure we know about the charity – and all they need to do is check to see if the charity is listed on the register of charities or, if not yet registered, is on our public combined list.
“If the charity isn’t listed on either then you can fill out a simple online form, which lets us know the charity name and who we can contact when the time comes to submit a registration application.
“All of the information you need is on our website, alongside guidance and advice aimed at supporting charities through the registration process when the times comes – just take a few minutes to check the list and you’re setting yourself on the right path,” she concluded.
Charity registration is an assessment of whether an organisation is a charity in accordance with the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008. Once a charity is registered, the public has an assurance that the organisation is a bona fide charity, as defined by the law.
The Commission managing the registration of the thousands of charities via a carefully managed process. This allows the Commission to call organisations forward to apply for registration in groups or “tranches”, matching the number of incoming applications against available resources at a given time.
For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on tel: 028 3832 0169 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
A non-departmental public body, the Commission is sponsored by the Department for Communities and has a number of legal functions where it uses powers similar to those of the High Court.