Charities Act 2022 - the first set of changes comes into force

The first of three tranches of refinements to the Charities Act 2011 has come into force today, 31 October 2022.

All the changes – with the rest hopefully to come into force in Spring and then in Autumn 2023 – are designed to make the running of charities easier for trustees and for those to whom they delegate their relevant powers and duties. As Lord Hodgson put it 10 years ago, charities have faced a number of historic obstacles under the existing law and these unnecessary burdens on trustees act like barnacles on a boat, causing a drag when all should be plain sailing. Each barnacle has very little effect, but if you are tempted to leave all the barnacles in place, eventually the ship slows down.

Generally speaking the changes introduced today are likely to be of less importance than those coming next year, which will include streamlining of the process for the disposal of charity land and amendment of charities’ purposes. They cover issues as diverse as the power to amend the governing documents of Royal Charter charities and a power of the Charity Tribunal to authorise the costs to be incurred by trustees bringing an application before it to be paid out of their charity’s funds.

But one area that may be of widespread relevance to a large number of charities is the simplification of the process of dealing with a fundraising appeal, which has either raised too much money or has not raised enough and so has failed, and when the question arises of what to do with the (surplus) money that has been raised.

The Commission has produced new guidance today to deal with both scenarios and, perhaps of even more importance, guidance highlighting how to avoid either problem by carefully wording the appeal in the first place, whether that is:

  • by drafting broad appeal wording e.g. “Here is an example of one of our projects. To support this and other projects that we run, please give a donation to our charity;” or
  • by including a secondary purpose or purposes in appeal wording e.g: “We are raising funds to buy a modern scanner for our animal rescue centre. If we have donations left after the purchase, or we are unable to buy the scanner, we will spend your donations on other equipment for the centre.”

Fittingly on Halloween, charities should give themselves a treat rather than a trick when planning their fundraising campaigns…


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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