The Charity Commission is planning to move all of its services online by 2012, but the charity regulator wants to be aware of any problems this might cause the many people and organisations that use its services. It has therefore conducted an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA), and is now consulting more widely on this.
The Commission has been developing its online services for some years and the number of charities taking advantage of these is growing. Last year there was a 24% increase in the use of its online services from the previous year, with over 75% of annual return or update submissions by charities made online. Last year the Commission’s website had nearly 40 million page views.
Financial pressures have played some part in the move online: the Commission’s budget has been cut in recent years, and its funding for 2010/11 is 16% less than it was five years ago. But the transition to online-only brings other benefits to people and organisations interacting with the Commission. For example, charity registration applications filled in online take less than half the time to complete and approve than those sent in by post.
Andrew Hind, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said: “A move to online services will have numerous benefits for charities and their advisers, the Commission, and the environment, but we want to make sure charities have their say about the potential impact of this.
“We’re already asking charity advisers to communicate with us electronically, and extending this to all our customers will save us and charities valuable time and money. Of course we will always honour our responsibilities towards customers with disabilities and other very specific needs. However if we can adopt more online working, it will help us cope with what is likely to be a much more constrained budget.”
The Commission will accept responses until 29 October 2010.
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