Charity Commission Annual Return

Following the Autumn 2017 consultation on proposed changes to the charities Annual Return for 2018 (AR18), 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, which came into force on New Year’s Day. The questions to be answered are listed in a Schedule to the Regulations.

Local Churches, Circuits and Districts will need to submit the completed AR18 within 10 months of the end of the financial year ending 31 August 2018 (i.e. by 30 June 2019). It must be completed by all Methodist charities with an annual income above £100,000.

New questions on executive pay in charities will be included in AR18. 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 will also require 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.

There will be questions to establish whether trustees are paid or in receipt of other benefits from the charity. No amounts are required and this information will be published.

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.

Although completing the AR18 may be some way off, it is important to begin reviewing what is required now and to start collating the necessary income and expenditure data to complete the return.


Andrew Thorpe-Apps

Governance Adviser




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