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Charity Annual Return: question guide

In last month’s edition of eNews, we reported that following a period of consultation, the Charity Commission had amended their Annual Return. Seemingly in acknowledgement of the impact that the series of new questions added to the Return have had on charities, the Commission has recently published a question guide to support charities in completing this task.

The guide is designed to help charities understand what information they will need to prepare for the 2023 Annual Return, and defines several key terms used, such as Gross Income, Charitable Activities, and Parent Charity. Importantly, it also contextualises why certain questions new to the 2023 Return are being asked.

For example:

By assessing the breakdown of a charity’s income, the Commission can identify if a charity is susceptible to risks associated with dependence on a single income stream;
By asking for the value of grants made to types of recipients, the Commission can determine the financial risk faced by the sector should charity-to-charity grants not be made;
By asking whether a charity’s address public address is the same as its administrative headquarters, the Commission can keep information on the Register of Charities up to date and accurate, increasing public trust and confidence.
Detailed below are a number of the Return’s new questions, the compilation of the necessary information for which may require some planning:

What was the total value of the grants received from the central government or a local authority during the financial period of the return?

In the financial period of this return, what value of grants were made to:

Other charities
Other organisations that are not charities
Activities outside of the United Kingdom
How was income from outside of the United Kingdom received by your charity in the financial period of this return?

How much money did your charity send in total outside of the United Kingdom using a method other than the regulated banking system in the financial period of this return?


At the end of the financial period of this return, how many:

People were permanently employed by your charity
People were on fixed-term contracts with your charity
Self-employed people were working for your charity
Note that the question guide helps define ‘employee’, ‘fixed term contract’ and ‘self-employed’ to assist the answering this question.

How many of the people above work on behalf of your charity outside of the United Kingdom?

Which of the following policies and procedures did your charity have in place at the end of the financial period of this return?

  1. Internal charity financial controls policy and procedures
  2. Safeguarding policy and procedures
  3. Financial reserves policy and procedures
  4. Serious Incident Reporting policy and procedures
  5. Charity financial reserves policy and procedures
  6. Internal risk management policy and procedures
  7. Trustee expenses policy and procedures
  8. Trustee conflicts of interest policy and procedures
  9. Investing charity funds policy and procedures
  10. Engaging in political activity policy and procedures
  11. Bullying and harassment policy and procedures
  12. Social media policy and procedures
  13. Engaging external speakers at charity events policy and procedures