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March 11, 2024

Charity Commission Strategy 2024-2029 – Key themes and quotes

Charity Commission Strategy 2024-2029 – Key themes and quotes

Date updated:
Charity Commission Strategy 2024-2029 – Key themes and quotes

On 26 February 2024, the Charity Commission published the 2024-2029 strategy, which sets out the body’s ambitions, values, priorities and measures of success.

Below, Professional Support Lawyer Sarah Clune identifies the strategy’s key themes and priorities.

Key themes

  • The importance of public support – “The entire charity sector is dependent upon – literally fuelled by – public support, in the form of individual willingness to offer money, expertise, support, or time to help. As an expert, effective regulator, the Commission plays an important role in sustaining public trust and confidence on which the support of the sector relies”.

  • Opportunities and threats from new technology (e.g. AI) – “Advances in technology will offer new avenues to support charity and promote accountability, but they will also increase the threat of misleading information being shared whether through deepfakes or across social media”.

  • The current climate that charities are operating in – Within the context of the pandemic, cost of living crisis, conflicts and natural disasters, political instability, and the effects of climate change around the world. Charities will need strong governance/leadership and financial resilience over the coming years. The Commission will promote trusteeship as an attractive proposition and wants to encourage philanthropic confidence through robust but proportionate regulation: “The Commission will create a positive regulatory environment that maintains appropriate safeguards without hindering important opportunities for trusteeship or all types of charitable giving”.

  • Distinction between intentional wrongdoers and honest mistakes – The Commission says that it will aim to be consistent, making sure its processes and guidance are clear, rigorous and meet professional standards. The Commission will investigate concerns and hold charities to account against established standards, deal with intentional wrongdoers robustly and support trustees to run charities well.  We understand that the best laid plans can go awry and help charities to correct those mistakes when they happen” (see priority 2 below).

  • The independence of the Commission – There is a strong emphasis on acting independently, taking decisions based on evidence. The strategy emphasises that the Commission will act “without fear or favour from any other entity – whether that’s Government, the sector, or the public”.  The Commission will be more explicit about the standard of evidence it requires to be able to consider concerns raised about charities and its threshold for action (see priority 3 below).

The Commission’s five priorities 

  • Priority 1: We will be fair and proportionate in our work and clear about our role

    The Commission says it will deal fairly and pragmatically with concerns, and will aim to identify a swift resolution wherever possible. Where actions or decisions may be unpopular, it will take extra care to explain why it has taken certain action.  In terms of regulation, the Commission will focus most attention on issues where it can make the biggest difference. It will use evidence and information to help inform early identification of emerging risk, aiming to be increasingly proactive in its approach, aiming to advise the sector and individual charities of the steps they can take to prevent a more serious problem, thus preventing further engagement from the Commission. The idea is that this will help the Commission focus on matters which are more complex or require sustained intervention.

  • Priority 2: We will support charities to get it right but take robust action where we see wrongdoing and harm

    There will be equal emphasis on the Commission being a source of support to trustees but also a tougher enforcer. It will strengthen its use of data and intelligence to provide clear, relevant information and support trustees to be effective by building their understanding of their role. The Commission will aim to ensure that its guidance is suitable for a range of audiences, including small charities and large, complex organisations. The Commission will act robustly where it uncovers wrongdoing to protect beneficiaries, charitable resources, staff and donors. However, there is recognition of honest mistakes and the efforts that busy trustees make, balancing conflicting pressures: “Where it is right to do so we will work collaboratively with trustees, seeking a proportionate way to correct those mistakes”.

  • Priority 3: We will speak with authority and credibility, free from the influence of others

    The strategy says that impartiality and inclusivity will be threaded through the Commission’s decision-making process, which will be grounded in the law and guided by expert intelligence, analytical rigour and an improved understanding of risk.  With a nod to the ‘culture wars’ the strategy says that it will promote respect, tolerance and consideration for others in its dialogue (and says that it expects charities to do the same). The strategy recognises that the Commission is dealing with divisive and contentious issues and goes on to say: “Whether in conversation with government, politicians, charities, policymakers, or the public we will always follow the facts rather than the voices shouting the loudest”.

  • Priority 4: We will embrace technological innovation and strengthen how we use our data

    The strategy says that the Commission will evolve and improve the effectiveness of online services with the aim of enabling trustees to interact with the Commission and to find what they need more easily, themselves. The Commission will review the amount of data that it collects, e.g. in the annual return. It will introduce more precise and accurate classifications of the charities that it regulates e.g. for the purpose that they serve or where they are based so that it can deliver more targeted advice and regulation.

  • Priority 5: We will be the expert Commission, where our people are empowered and enabled to deliver excellence in regulation

    The strategy aims to build individual capabilities and strengthen capacity. The Commission will strive for a culture of continuous improvement, upskilling its data and analytics capability and making sure that its tools and processes enable its ambition. It will sue its quality assurance framework to drive improvements in decision-making.

For further information on the above, visit the government website and view the strategy in full.