Implementation of Charities Act 2011

The Charities Act 2011 consolidates previous legislation relating to charities (including the Recreational Charities Act 1958, the Charities Act 1993 and a large part of the Charities Act 2006) into a single piece of legislation.

The 2011 Act does not change existing legislation in terms of requirements or policies but rather re-writes the text of various other Acts into a single Act to make the law easier to understand.

The 2011 Act has come into force on 14 March 2012 and the main effect of its implementation is that in documents, reports, accounts or statements produced on or after 14 March 2012 reference should be made to the Charities Act 2011, rather than the previous Acts, even if the documents or reports relate to an earlier financial period.

When preparing accounts that are completed on or after 14 March 2012 reference should be made to the 2011 Act. For an unincorporated charity the relevant accounts requirements are in part 8 of the Charities Act 2011 and the accounting policies might state that ‘the financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the Statement of Recommended Accounting Practice: Accounting and Reporting by Charities (SORP 2005), issued in May 2008, UK Accounting Standards and the Charities Act 2011’.

For independent examiners the relevant provisions in respect of non-company charities in the 2011 Act are:

  • The examination of the accounts was under section 145 of the Act;
  • The examiner follows the Directions made under section 145 (9) (b) of the Act;
  • The charity keeps accounting records under section 130 of the Act;
  • The accounts comply with the requirements of the 2011 Act.

Further guidance and examples of independent examiner’s reports updated for the new legislation can be accessed from the Examiners’ Guide published by the Charity Commission

The relevant references for auditors are included in the revised Auditing Practices Board (APB) Bulletin 2010/2 which provides illustrative auditor’s reports amended for the new sections of the Charities Act 2011.

The APB has also amended Practice Note 11 The audit of Charities in the UK to incorporate the new legislative references.

It has to be noted that the if reference is made in a document to the superseded legislation after 14 March 2012 and the incorrect reference is made inadvertently, the effect is as if the relevant section of Charities Act 2011 had been cited.  Visit the related links section of this page for further information.