Introduction

The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) provides guidance to those involved with preparing charity accounts. It details the legal requirements and good practice regarding how to prepare ‘true and fair’ accounts in accordance with UK accounting standards. All charities registered in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales must use the SORP to prepare their accounts unless the trustees have opted to prepare receipts and payments accounts and their charity is a non-company charity which had an income of £250,000 or less in the reporting period. Charities registered in the Republic of Ireland can choose to adopt the SORP. The SORP covers both the financial and non-financial performance (including the Trustees’ Annual Report (TAR)) of a charity in the previous 12 months, providing readers with an insight into how the charity has fulfilled its charitable purposes and how it has used its resources. The production and approval of the annual report and accounts is the responsibility of all the charity trustees, not just the trustee with an interest, or expertise, in finance.

However, the SORP can be an alien document to many charity trustees: too long, too much jargon, overly technical or unrelatable to the work of the charity. This can mean that many charity annual reports and accounts are non-compliant, of poor quality or otherwise unhelpful to a range of readers.

The Charities SORP Trustee Engagement Strand1 has been tasked with helping the SORP-making Committee develop the next SORP, from the specific perspective of charity trustees. We therefore seek the help of trustees to understand their:

· Awareness of the SORP;

· How, if at all, they engage with the development of their charity’s annual report and accounts;

· What resources trustees need to help prepare their annual report and accounts;

· What aspects of the charity annual report and accounts are unhelpful or otherwise unnecessary.

The questionnaire is aimed primarily at existing or recently retired trustees of charities registered or operating in Wales, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and England. It shouldn’t take long to complete but the experience of trustees could help to fundamentally change future SORPs to ensure they are fit for purpose for the charities it covers.

Further information about the Charities SORP can be found at https://www.charitysorp.org/

The closing date of this survey is the 7th of December

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