The Charity Commission is now accepting online registrations for new charities and, as a result, is aiming to reduce the registration time to just five working days by the end of this year.
Initially the new service is available only to organisations applying with an approved (or ‘standard’) governing document. This contains the charity’s objectives and all the relevant powers to operate the charity.
Qualifying organisations can submit their charity application form electronically and their governing document at the same time if they wish. They can save and return to their form, giving them the option to complete it over a period of time. Once submitted, the application will be considered for registration in the usual way.
Registration times for new charities have more than halved in the last four years, from from an average of 69 days to 32 days. For charities using an approved governing document the average registration time is even faster, and at the end of December 2007 this stood at 15 days. With the new system, the Commission is aiming for an average registration time of five working days or less by the end of 2008 for those organisations applying online.
If charities choose not to submit their governing document electronically they can send this in on paper, together with their trustee declaration form. Similarly, the registration application form itself will still be available in paper format for those unable to access the Internet, or who do not wish to use an electronic form.
The Commission continues to receive a large number of applications for charitable status. From 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007, it received 7,259 applications to register.
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