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Charities Act 2006

The Charities Act 2006 aims to support a dynamic and vibrant sector, ensuring that it continues to enjoy high levels of public confidence.

The Act reforms charity law and regulation to:

The Charities Act 2006 [external website] along with the explanatory notes [external website] that accompany it are available on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information. Hard copies, can be purchased from the Stationery Office.

The new law did not come into effect immediately after Royal Assent in November 2006. Instead various parts are being brought into force in sequence, starting from early 2007. An implementation plan sets out this process and indicates when the various provisions of the Act will come into force. The implementation plan was updated in November 2007 to reflect the latest position.

Plain English guide to the Charities Act

The Office of the Third Sector and Charity Commission jointly produced a plain English guide to the Charities Act 2006, aimed primarily at charities with an income below £500,000. It explains the main provisions of the Act, and where you can go for further information or guidance on specific provisions. The web version of the guide will be updated as various provisions of the Act are commenced, or new guidance published.

This guide is also available in Welsh and in large print format:

You can also order free hard copies of the guide. Please call 0845 015 0010 and quote URN 07/Z2 for the guide in English, or URN 07/Z2/w for the guide in Welsh.

A Braille version of the guide is also available – please phone the above number and quote URN 07/Z2/br.

Please note that stocks are limited.

Regional events on the Charities Act

The Office of the Third Sector and the Charity Commission held a series of regional events between 16 May and 20 June 2007 to raise awareness of the implementation of the Charities Act.

The events were primarily for professional advisers such as lawyers, accountants, umbrella bodies and the legal and finance advisers of large charities. The events covered the following areas:

The events were well attended and well-received. We have decided not to run any more of these events for the time being because we are still in the process of implementing the Act, but we will reconsider the situation once the Act has been fully implemented.

We would like to thank all those who attended the events, as well as the Charity Trustees Network for providing volunteers to act as independent chairs for each of the events.

Charity law reform in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Charity law and regulation is devolved in Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Scottish charity law was changed by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act, which received Royal Assent on 14 July 2005. You can find out more on the Scottish Executive's website [external website].

Northern Ireland

The Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland has recently finished a consultation on reforming charity law and regulation in Northern Ireland. It has now published, for consultation, a draft Order in Council that would give effect to the proposals.