Charity Commission Annual Return

Following the Autumn 2017 consultation on proposed changes to the charities Annual Return for 2018 and 2019, the Charity Commission announced a number of amendments.

The Commission published the results of the consultation in the form of the Charities (Annual Return) Regulations 2017. The questions to be answered are listed in a Schedule to the Regulations. 

Local Churches, Circuits and Districts must submit the completed Annual Return for 2019 (AR19) within 10 months of the end of the financial year ending 31 August 2019 (i.e. by 30 June 2020). It must be completed by all Methodist charities with an annual income above £100,000. You must have submitted your annual return for 2018 before you can do a return for 2019. 

The AR19 includes questions on executive pay and the Commission will make public how many individuals receive total packages worth upwards of £60,000 (in bands of £10,000 up to £150,000, then in bands of £50,000). The Commission also now requires charities to provide information about the value of the total employee benefits provided to their highest paid employee, but that information will be held for regulatory purposes, rather than made public.

We have produced a guidance document to assist with completing the Annual Return.

Charities will be asked whether staff or volunteers work with vulnerable beneficiaries and, if so, whether they have undergone DBS checks. If you are unsure of which situations require DBS checks to be carried out on staff or volunteers, please read our Practice Guidance on carrying out DBS checks as part of Safer Recruitment.   

There will be no opportunity to provide context for these answers. The Commission will monitor responses before deciding whether to publish the data.

As before, the Charity Commission only requires a best estimate of the number of volunteers and the charity trustees are not included in this estimated number. In estimating the number of volunteers it is suggested that:-

A Local Church should exclude anyone who is a member of the Church Council, unless a member of the Church Council volunteers for the Local Church in another capacity e.g. the organist or Sunday school teacher. Anyone who is an employee should also be excluded.

A Circuit completing the annual return should also exclude anyone who is a member of the Circuit Meeting unless they volunteer for the Circuit in another capacity e.g. an unpaid administrator. A Circuit only needs to include in their number of volunteers those people who volunteer for the Circuit, not all the people who assist at a Local Church level. This might include those people volunteering for a Circuit run project e.g. a food bank as well as anyone assisting with the running of the Circuit but not employees.

A District completing the annual return should also exclude anyone who is a member of the Synod as they will be a charity trustee, unless they assist the District in another capacity as a volunteer. The District should only include in their estimation people volunteering for the District or a project of the District e.g. volunteer District Property Secretary.


Andrew Thorpe-Apps

Governance Adviser

020 7467 5211




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