Over 8,500 charities now under regulator
THOUSANDS of small voluntary and local charity groups will now be obliged to register with the new Charities Regulatory Authority.
The government authority finally opened for business last week, more than five years after legislation provided for it.
The authority is now busy completing a register of the 8,500 groups which operate on a bigger scale.
However, in the coming months the legion of smaller local groups, involving some 50,000 activists or trustees, must make terms with the new regulator.
Ivan Cooper, Head of Advocacy with the voluntary bodies umbrella group, The Wheel, has welcomed more direct accountability for charities who have a total annual income of some €6bn and employ over 100,000 paid workers.
The Government finally moved this year on activating the Charities Act, which had been on the statute book since February 2009.
The move came after a series of disturbing revelations earlier this year about leading groups which have charitable status.
Officials said the new Charities Regulatory Authority is currently developing a register of the main charities which had already been registered with the Revenue Commissioners.
Ultimately the Revenue's records will be transferred to the regulatory authority and more details around their activities will be added to the database.
The Wheel has welcomed the developments and progress, which it says will enhance transparency and give more certainty to charities about what is expected of them.
Mr Cooper said that overall donations have plummeted and are still around 10pc down following the spate of controversies in the sector.
"Organisations which are faring best are those who are managing to communicate most effectively with their donors and supporters," Mr Cooper said.
The Wheel has advised all smaller charities nationally to prepare for engagement with the regulator.