Category Archives: Regulation

What’s a serious incident and why should you act on it?

The Commission took part in an event in partnership with NIVCA last week that provided a forum for interested parties to feed back their views on Serious Incident Reporting. We were particularly interested in the reaction to our draft guidance on reporting serious incidents and were grateful for the opportunity to explain the regulatory approach behind it.

Our role is simply to ensure that any serious incident is adequately dealt with by charity trustees in accordance with their legal duties. With this aim in mind all charities, whatever their size and whatever their income, must report serious incidents to the Commission.

There are two main reasons for this.

Continue reading

The dos and don’ts of street collecting

The regulations governing street collections by charities in Northern Ireland are nothing new – they have been in operation since 1927, having been the subject of legislation in the Police, Factories, etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916. However, as fundraising by other methods grows, fewer and fewer volunteers are carrying out street collections. This means that many may not be as acquainted with the rules as they once were.

Continue reading

“Trust is always conditional” – why Data Protection matters

Damien Smyth, IT OfficerWe’re sitting on the cusp of a vast data-driven age that some have even started to refer to as the fourth industrial revolution.

The theory goes that if steam powered the first, electricity, mass production and the division of labour the second and computing the third then the fourth epoch of technological progress will be driven by what we can store

Indeed, we can already see how this is beginning to shape our lives. Drones, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and ‘the internet of things’ are already starting to impact on our day-to-day lives. Much of this is powered by information sharing and while the sharing of information helped power our last great technological jumps, the next few years will be defined by it.

It is perhaps with great foresight that the Data Protection Act 1998 came into being. In an increasingly interconnected world it sought to strike a balance between innovation-feeding and the right of the individual to enjoy privacy.

Continue reading

No such thing as average – what the register of charities tells us about the sector in Northern Ireland

aoife-morrison-policy-managerNorthern Ireland has a long history of a vibrant, trusted and well thought of charity sector. But, as strange as it seems now, there was no way to fully and accurately quantify its existence until 2013 when the Commission began registering charities.

While we may only be part of the way there – with 5,300 charities registered out of a final estimated total of between 11,000 and 17,500, we’re now able to put together a much fuller picture of the charity sector in Northern Ireland than has ever existed before.

So what’s the bottom line? What we find is a sector that is marked by its diversity where simple ‘averages’ do not reflect the breadth of charities in terms of what they do, how they are established, their income and where they are located.

Continue reading

Mind the Gap – a Chief Executive’s view of charity regulation


John FarrellyJohn Farrelly, Chief Executive Officer of Ireland’s new Charities Regulator, provides an overview of his approach to regulating and protecting charities.

For many years I lived in London. One of my abiding memories was the announcement as you step off the Tube  to “Mind the gap”. Twenty years later, that message underpins my approach to regulating and protecting charities.

Continue reading