Swansea University has just successfully registered as a charity, and instantly became the second largest registered charity in Wales. With an income of £150 million in 2009, the university is second only to Cardiff University which was registered in July 2010 with an income of over £400m.
Established in 1920, the university is one of several Welsh educational institutions who have chosen to be registered by the Charity Commission following the implementation of the Charities Act 2006.
Universities have always been charities but previously did not have to register with the Commission as they were accountable to their funder, HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales). However, the Charities Act 2006 changed the way in which these charities are regulated with the aim of improving accountability across the sector.
Photo: Swansea University Campus by ampersandyslexia on Flickr.com
Harry Iles, Head of the Charity Commission’s Wales office said: “Following registration, the public will be able to access information about the Universities’ governance and accounts on our website in the same way as for all other registered charities and this is invaluable for promoting a better understanding of the work they do.
He explained that adding Welsh universities to the Commission’s register will have a significant affect on the scale of the Welsh charity sector that the Commission regulates.
“At present”, he said, “the income for the 9,000 plus registered charities in Wales is approximately £1 billion. Once all the Welsh universities are registered with the Commission, this figure will rise to £2.2 billion – more than double the current income.”
As well as the universities in Wales, all the student unions with an income over £100,000 are now required to register with the Commission and, shortly, work will begin to register the Further Education Institutions.
However, apart from a few, universities in England will not register with the Charity Commission and will continue to be regulated by HEFCE, the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
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