Charities face tough questions on funds

Changes to the way the public can access financial information about charities online may leave charity PROs facing more questions about funding, the Charity Commission has warned.

The independent charity regulator has made sweeping changes to its online register this week, which make charity accounts and financial information more accessible. The move is part of its ongoing bid to increase transparency and accountability in the sector.

Under the new rules, the public will now be able to discover at a glance whether charities file accounts on time. This information was available previously, but was buried in lengthy online documents. They will also be able to find out whether a trustee is also a trustee of other charities.

The 9,000 charities that have an income of more than £500,000 will also have profiles that display their spending and income, volunteer and employee numbers and how frequently they have filed previous accounts on time.

'Charity comms professionals should look at the new format of their charity's entry and ask themselves what questions the public, funders and others might have about the information they see. Be ready to answer those questions,' said the Charity Commission's head of news Sarah Miller.

'Most charities have a fantastic story to tell about their work, but they also need to respond to the public's desire to know more, particularly about how their money is used,' said Miller.

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