Charity Commission welcomes Government decision to review NHS charity accounts consolidation

(Immediate Release - 5 February 2010)

PR 08/10

The Charity Commission warmly welcomes HM Treasury’s decision today to defer for a year the implementation of the international accounting standard that may have required the consolidation of certain NHS charities into the group accounts of an NHS body. The Commission particularly welcomes the commitment to review the accounting treatment of NHS charities within the context of the government accounting framework.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this important review which includes representatives from NHS charities and other stakeholders and to have the chance to co-operate in finding a solution which maintains public confidence in giving to NHS charities. In the meantime, the one year deferral ensures the opportunity for proper consideration of this issue.

The Charity Commission’s position remains that the consolidation of NHS charities into the accounts of a public body is inconsistent with their independence, which is at the heart of what it means to be a charity.  Consolidation creates the risk that charitable assets could be perceived to be at the disposal of the public body for its own corporate use. We welcome the fact that our concerns have been recognised.

NHS charities receive charitable income in excess of £330m and control charitable assets in excess of £2bn. They can range from the very large, like Great Ormond Street, to the relatively small Primary Care Trust charities, such as Ravensbourne NHS Charitable Trust Fund, which has an income of £3,000.

The Commission has been voicing its concerns for some time and welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the review in order to safeguard both charities’ independence and public trust and confidence in them.

Ends.

For further information, please contact the press office.

Notes to Editors

1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.

2. Our mission is: to ensure charities’ legal compliance, enhance charities’ accountability, encourage charities’ effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.

3. In August 2009 the Charity Commission published, Maintaining Independence, guidance for corporate trustees and trustee bodies managing NHS charitable funds.

4. The Charity Commission has published a Parliamentary briefing on this issue - http://www.epolitix.com/fileadmin/epolitix/stakeholders/NHS_charities_briefing_final_3_.doc

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