Charity Commission publishes new purpose and five year strategy

The Charity Commission has published its updated ‘Statement of Strategic Intent’, which sets out its key objectives over the next five years. At the core of the strategy is the Commission’s newly formulated strategic purpose ‘to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society’.


The strategy re-emphasises the Commission’s desire to increase the public’s trust and confidence in the charity sector and to deal firmly with charities seen to be bringing the sector into disrepute: an expected priority in light of recent high-profile media coverage.

However, the strategy also makes clear that the Commission intends to occupy a greater space in policy and agenda-setting, pledging to ‘speak confidently and authoritatively across government, in Parliament and on charity matters.’ No doubt the sector would welcome the Commission taking a more active role in advocating for its interests, following consultation and dialogue with stakeholders.

To put its purpose into practice, the Commission has set five strategic objectives:

  • Holding charities to account. The Commission pledges to use its authority and influence to draw attention to behaviour that could jeopardise public confidence in the charity sector and encourage the behaviour that people expect of charities.
  • Dealing with wrongdoing and harm. The Commission aims for its regulatory interventions to be less reactive to events and more driven by risk, while also making better use of technology so that cases can be concluded faster.
  • Informing public choice. The information available to the public about charities will be easy to access and use, to encourage informed choices and demonstrate charities’ good work.
  • Giving charities the understanding and tools they need to succeed. The Commission’s goal is to help charities fulfil the purposes for which they were created, by both working with them and monitoring them. It proposes to target its guidance to fit with different charities’ needs.
  • Keeping charity relevant for today’s world. The Commission seeks to ‘lead thinking about how charities can thrive in a changing world’ and to help shape the environment in which they operate.

Whilst the Commission pledges to improve its processes and have a bigger voice in the debate on charity issues and policy, it acknowledges that in some areas its strategic ambition is greater than its current capacity to deliver. In a climate of continued budget cuts and political uncertainty, the strategy is clearly a call to central government for further funding and resourcing.

Does your charity have a safeguarding policy and serious incident reporting policy?

It is clear from the strategy that issues of safeguarding and reporting of serious incidents will remain high on the Commission’s agenda for some time. To help charities to deal with these issues, our Get Legal team has recently published two new template documents for small charities:

  • Our Safeguarding and Welfare Policy is appropriate for organisations that do not work directly with children or vulnerable adults, but want to set out their commitments in relation to safeguarding and the protection of staff and beneficiaries.
  • Our Serious Incident Reporting Policy sets out what constitutes a serious incident in accordance with the Commission’s guidance and outlines a procedure for escalating incidents so that they can be reported as appropriate.

These template documents have been prepared by expert BWB lawyers and offer small charities a cost-effective alternative to engaging full legal services.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact:

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of October 8, 2018.