Independent examiners and the PCC

by
02 November 2006

(CREDIT: iStock)

(CREDIT: iStock)

 

Sir, — Members of the Association of Charity Independent Examiners (ACIE) with church connections alerted me to your report “PCC accounts may be given closer scrutiny” ( News, 3 December). There was concern that the report might be a little alarmist, as suggested by David Knox in his letter (10 December). David is treasurer of ACIE, which offers support, information and training in the area of independent examination (see www.acie.org.uk).

Independent examination is currently applicable to charities in England and Wales with annual income and expenditure of more than £10,000 and less than £250,000. This upper threshold will increase to £500,000 (but measuring income only), should the Charities Bill become law. It will pull back to £100,000, should a £2.8-million assets threshold be exceeded by the charity, as mentioned in your report. (Currently no asset threshold is applied.) These are in effect minimal changes to the current situation to which PCCs are legally working.

If PCCs think they are currently not compliant, they can gain advice and support in meeting the required standards, for both the present and future, by appointing a competent independent examiner.

As yet, it is not at all clear when — or if — the Bill will come before Parliament; so current rules apply for the near future. Rather than panic at the possibility of a Charity Commission visitation as a result of the implementation of potential new rules, churches should ensure that their current accounting practice would stand up to scrutiny by any interested party. The Charity Commission starts with annual reports
and accounts, which is also the territory of independent examination.

FIONA GORDON
Director, Association of Charity Independent Examiners
Bentley Resource Centre
High Street, Bentley
Doncaster DN5 0AA

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