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Charity Commission publishes its guidance for charities connected with non-charities

Charity Commission publishes its guidance for charities connected with non-charities

The has released its guidance on “Charities with a connection to a non-charity”, following the consultation on its draft guidance last year.

The guidance includes specific applications to fundraising such as corporate foundations, charities with trading subsidiaries, and charities, which fund or receive funding from a non-charity.

It aims to help charities benefit from relationships with non-charities while managing the risks, with the Charity Commission also saying that the guidance will help to ‘hold charities to account against existing rules’. It does not set out new rules or regulations itself, but draws together relevant law and practice in setting out six principles to help trustees ensure their arrangements for working with a linked body secure the charity’s interests and independence.

These six principles are:

  • Recognising the risks
  • Not furthering non-charitable purposes
  • Operating independently
  • Avoiding unauthorised personal benefit and addressing conflicts of interest
  • Maintaining your charity’s separate identity
  • Protecting your charity

It also covers what to do when things go wrong, and how to apply to register as a charity with a connection to a non-charity.

Helen Stephenson, CEO of the Charity Commission, said:

“As regulator, we want charities to thrive and inspire trust, and we know relationships with non-charitable organisations can help a charity deliver on its purposes. But operating alongside other organisations should always be well considered and trustees must manage the risks that can arise carefully, and with probity.

“Charities hold special status in society and the public rightly have high expectations of them, including that they are driven only by their charitable mission and purpose and that they work to defend and promote their independence from non-charitable organisations at all times. No charity should ever use or be used by non-charitable organisations to pursue uncharitable interests.”

Bates Wells Braithwaite, which voiced concerns over the draft guidance’s scope, tone and content during the consultation period, has announced that it is planning to hold a seminar on the guidance and its implications.

In an email announcing this, and leading to a more detailed assessment of the new guidance on its site, Partner Simon Steeden states:

“To its credit, the Commission has taken on board many of those concerns, removing some of the most unworkable aspects of the original draft.

“We have some continuing concerns about how practical other aspects of the guidance will be, and about the burgeoning guidance that volunteer trustees are required to navigate.”

Anyone interested in attending the seminar is asked to contact Steeden at

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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