The Charity Commission has recently updated and enhanced its guidance on public benefit. This has long been an area of scrutiny by the Commission particularly within existing charitable entities as to how they tick the tests of public benefit. With this detailed guidance, the Commission now recognises that there are three elements to public benefit in the life of a charity as follows:-
- Being a charity means being an institution which is for the public benefit. Understanding at the outset what public benefit means can help those looking to set up a charity.
- Running a charity means the charity trustees must carry out the charity’s purposes for the public benefit.
- Reporting public benefit provides a means to report within the annual accounts the main activities undertaken by a charity to carry out its charitable purpose for the public benefit.
There is guidance on the Charity Commission website regarding the detail of the above which seeks to clarify at the inception of a charity the purpose for its existence and to continually challenge trustees to ensure their charity’s purpose continues to be for the public benefit.