Charity Commission guidance on registration and public benefit

26 Mar 2013 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 12 Aug 2014

NICVA and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland came together on Monday 25 March to discuss the new charity registration and public benefit guidance with representatives from across the voluntary and community sector.

The guidance has been issued as part of the Charities Act NI legislation and outlines what is considered to be ‘charitable purpose’ and ‘public benefit’ as well as how these new definitions will be applied to groups working in Northern Ireland.

The event was in addition to the consultations being held by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland to give everyone affected by these changes an opportunity to share their views and help shape the final version of the guidance before registration begins later this year.


Charity Commission NI Consultation from NICVA on Vimeo.

It was also a chance for the Commission to get feedback on the format and structure of the guidance, whether it was clear and easy to understand and any areas that could be improved.

The registration process

Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Commission, commented: "It will be compulsory for all charities operating in Northern Ireland to apply for registration after we begin the full registration process later this year.

"Our guidance is aimed at helping charities understand the registration process, including who must apply, when they should apply and how they can demonstrate that they meet the public benefit requirement.

"Our consultation is an opportunity for anyone involved, or interested, in the work of charities to help us develop guidance which is clear, accessible and designed to meet the needs of those it is intended to support."

Here to help

Denise Copeland, Governance and Charity Advice Manager at NICVA said: "We know these changes may seem daunting for some members, but we would emphasise that all trustees must read the statutory guidance on the public benefit requirement and have regard to it when making decisions about the running of their charity. If you need any more information our governance team at NICVA are here to help.”

A copy of NICVA's briefing paper on charity registration and the public benefit statutory guidance is available for download here.'s picture
by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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