Key features of the revised guidance

This consultation explores issues concerning:
We have re-written the guidance in a completely new style which is more suited to being read online and which we hope is easier for trustees to navigate

Key messages are provided at the top of each section with the detail provided in the page below. Where more detail is provided, this is accessed by 'clicking through' to a new page

We have tried to strike a balance between keeping page lengths relatively short, to reduce the amount of 'scrolling down' that is needed to access more detailed information, without losing the flow or sense of the information by having too many 'click throughs'

Charity trustees have a duty to have regard to our public benefit guidance. There is therefore a balance to be struck between giving trustees sufficient information to understand the public benefit requirement without requiring them to have regard to more guidance than is necessary

For that reason, we have revised our public benefit guidance on the basis that it is the minimum that trustees need to know about public benefit. It is structured so that high level guidance is provided upfront, with the option to 'click through' to more detailed guidance where it is relevant

Our revised public benefit guidance is not designed to answer every question trustees may have about public benefit. But we will provide other, more tailored information about public benefit in other ways, without adding to the amount of guidance to which all trustees must have regard. Our public benefit guidance explains public benefit in general terms. It sets out some important points regarding the limitations of our public benefit guidance and the nature of the law on public benefit to aid understanding when reading our general guidance (See: About the Charity Commission’s public benefit guidance)
‘Aspects’ of public benefit replace the previous public benefit ‘principles’
In our draft revised guidance we no longer use the terms ‘principles’ and ‘sub-principles’ of public benefit that appeared in our previous guidance. Instead we refer to the ‘aspects’ of public benefit as being the ‘benefit aspect’ and the ‘public aspect’ and describe what the law looks for under each
In revising the guidance we have taken steps to make it clearer when we are talking about public benefit in relation to each of these

We have structured the revised guidance to make it clearer to those setting up new charities and trustees of existing charities what they need to know about public benefit
Reporting on public benefit
We have structured the revised guidance to present the information on public benefit reporting more clearly
Explaining the duty of trustees to carry out the charity’s purposes for the public benefit
In line with recent decisions of the Upper Tribunal we have explained that this duty is about trustees making decisions (in accordance with framework for all trustee decision making) that they are satisfied advances the charity’s purposes for the public benefit
Revised guidance on fee-charging
We have simplified our guidance on this and focused on the importance of trustee decision making
Enhancements to our previous public benefit guidance
We have taken the opportunity of revising our general public benefit guidance to add some new areas of guidance which we think will aid trustees in their decision making. This includes guidance on what makes a charity, descriptions of purposes, setting up a charity and running a charity for the public benefit.

We have also provided other information, which does not form part of our public benefit guidance, but which will aid understanding of it. For example, we have provided new information about the framework for trustee decision making and what is a political purpose. We are also taking the opportunity to update our published FAQs on public benefit, as a way of guiding trustees to relevant parts of our public benefit guidance, and have produced a summary document as a reminder to trustees of the key points made in our public benefit guidance.

This consultation may raise questions as well as provide answers, but we hope that the consultation process will ultimately result in more meaningful and helpful guidance.