The long-awaited new public benefit guidance

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The new guidance completely replaces the old guidance and is divided into three sections:
  • Running a charity
  • The public benefit requirement
  • Reporting

The old guidance was withdrawn by the Charity Commission following a challenge by the Independent Schools Council in 2011, after a series of assessments by the Commission into fee-charging independent schools concluded that two of the schools failed to meet the public benefit test.

The new guidance is intended to be consistent with the decision of the Upper Tribunal and has been published following a period of consultation with the sector.

The new guidance is less prescriptive and makes it clear that it is for the Trustees, not the Commission or the Courts, to determine how best to meet the requirements.

The new guidance therefore comes with an important shift in focus, with a far greater emphasis on the importance of Trustees reading and understanding the guidance and ensuring that it is taken into account when making decisions.  

Action points

All Trustees should ensure that they read and understand the new guidance, including any specific guidance that relates to their charity's particular area of activity.

We will provide further information and guidance about the new public benefit guidance in due course.