Charity SORP convenor launches probe of trustees’ understanding of the charity accounting framework

London, 23 October 2020 – The Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) convenor responsible for gathering the views of trustees on the charity accounting framework has today begun work with trustees to gain an insight into their understanding of the framework. Trustees in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are being asked to complete a questionnaire which will help to clarify their position.

Louise Thomson, Head of Policy (Not for Profit) at ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute, who is leading the Charities SORP Trustee Engagement Strand, says:

“Annual reports are important documents as they provide readers with an insight into how a 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. Consequently, some charity annual reports and accounts are non-compliant, of poor quality or otherwise unhelpful to a range of readers.

“The Charities SORP Trustee Engagement Strand has been tasked with helping the SORP-making Committee develop the next SORP, providing insight 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 help trustees need to help prepare their annual report and accounts; and
  • 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 make them fit for purpose for the charities it covers.”

The survey can be completed anonymously here until 7 December 2020.

Further information about the Charities SORP can be found at and about the Trustee Engagement Strand in particular at 

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For further information, please contact Maria Brookes, Media Relations Manager:  
+44 (0)20 7612 7072
+44 (0)7890 649 143

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Chartered Governance Institute is the qualifying and membership body for governance with over 125 years’ experience of educating and supporting governance professionals. With a Royal Charter purpose of leading ‘effective and efficient governance and administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’, we provide professional development, guidance and thought leadership, and work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards.

    The Institute has divisions in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong/China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Southern Africa, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. The division headquartered in London (known as ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute) represents and supports members in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Crown Dependencies and associated territories, which include the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. Website: 
  2. 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.
  3. The Charities SORP Trustee Engagement Strand is made up of a range of individuals and organisations with a broad understanding and experience of trusteeship. You can find out more here: 
  4. Survey link 


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