Charity Commission regulatory and enforcement powers
Charity Commission regulatory and enforcement powers

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Charity Commission regulatory and enforcement powers
  • Section 46 inquiries
  • Protective powers
  • Temporary powers
  • Permanent powers
  • Exempt charities
  • General regulatory powers
  • Relationship with other agencies
  • Criminal offences
  • Challenge to Charity Commission's powers

One of the general functions of the Charity Commission (the Commission), as the statutory regulator for charities, is to identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities, and to take remedial or protective action. This function covers:

  1. all charities in England and Wales, whether or not they are registered with the Commission, and

  2. all money that is raised for charitable purposes in England and Wales, even if it is not raised by a charity (eg fund-raising appeals which may be conducted by newspapers, broadcasters or other voluntary organisations in response to, say, a natural disaster or famine)

The Commission fulfils this function:

  1. in serious cases, by launching a formal statutory ‘section 46’ inquiry, or

  2. in non-serious cases, by exercising its general regulatory powers

The decision as to which approach to adopt is made on the basis of the Commission’s published Risk Framework tool.

These powers are referred to as ‘information powers’ in Part 5 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011).

Section 46 inquiries

The Commission has published guidance on its section 46 inquiries: Statutory Inquiries into Charities: Guidance for charities and their advisers (CC46).

The guidance states that the Commission is most likely to open a section 46 inquiry in relation to a particular charity, or a particular class of charities, if the facts disclose or suggest:

  1. significant financial