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Charity Community

Better Regulation: The charity perspective

Author: Kristina Kopic, Head of Charity and Voluntary Sector, ICAEW

Published: 28 Nov 2023

The impact of regulation on our members and the wider economy is enormous. ICAEW’s Better Regulation initiative aims to help us assess whether the UK’s regulatory regime is “good enough” (we know it isn’t perfect) and how it might be improved, drawing on our experience and insights from ICAEW members. We now need your help to understand which areas of regulation are impacting charities the most.

ICAEW’s Better Regulation Initiative: why we need your help

This initiative will help us in our policy work, e.g. identifying recurring issues across sectors and understanding how best to exert influence for improvement. It also offers opportunities for you to engage on this issue and to help us understand where it might usefully provide additional know-how resource.

The Business Law Committee acts as a steering group for the initiative and Charles Worth, as Secretary of that Committee, leads the project for ICAEW. However, the project depends upon engagement from other areas of ICAEW and our volunteers if it is to meet its full potential.

We have established a better regulation hub page on our website, where you can find out more about the UK’s regulatory regime and how things are meant to work for reference purposes.

The first phase of the initiative looked at the impact of regulation on small businesses and published articles based on interviews with small business owners/directors and a roundtable with small businesses. On the policy side, we have responded to consultations about the UK’s better regulation framework and input on various of ICAEW’s consultation responses (e.g. in relation to the late payment regulations, non-financial corporate reporting and SME finance).

The charity perspective

We are now following our small business focus with a look at the impact of regulation on charities and have already spoken to members participating in recent regional charity insight groups, the Community’s Advisory Group and ICAEW’s Charity Committee. We are planning to adopt a similar approach to that used for small businesses, e.g. interview members engaged in the charity sector for articles, hear your views at a roundtable discussion and provide “spotlights” on the (main) charity regulators.

We would welcome all your comments. The following questions may help you:

  • Should we focus on small charities initially or aim to cover charities regardless of size? What would we mean by “small” for the purposes of the exercise (even if we do not need a formal definition)?
  • What areas of regulation seem most obviously to be of concern to charities generally, e.g.:
    - Audit/accounting rules etc.
    - Economic crime, AML
    - Data protection, privacy
    - Laws relating to legal form (e.g. company law, including company registers)
    - Charity regulator requirements (charity law, annual return)
    - Safeguarding, health and safety
    - Marketing, fundraising?
  • Are issues raised by small businesses generally relevant, e.g.:
    - Access to finance/bank accounts (possibly driven by compliance requirements)
    - Late payment by large businesses
    - Indirect impact of regulation targeted at large businesses (e.g. sustainability, bribery act)
    - Public procurement processes (time consuming, disproportionate)?
  • Are there any regulatory themes that merit particular attention, e.g. regulatory objectives, accountability, complexity/comprehensibility/length of regulations/guidance, proportionality (i.e. impacting smaller charities disproportionately)?

Share your views

If you can share your insights, please contact Charles Worth or myself (subject: Better Regulation: charities). You can share your views anonymously but we are also hoping to interview members for articles and to facilitate a roundtable discussion on how regulation impacts charities.