How we register charities

The Charity Commission's core role is to protect the public's interest in charity.

Considering applications to register a charity

We refer to the legal framework when considering every application to register a charity. We use the information provided to make a decision about whether an organisation is capable of being registered as a charity.

We expect applicants to be clear about their charity's purposes and understand the requirements of being a charity. This means that:

  • applicants need to demonstrate that their organisation is charitable - we only provide general guidance
  • applicants need to have decided that their organisation is eligible for charitable status and to have understood their role and responsibilities
  • we apply fewer resources to assessing charities with model or standard governing documents to speed up registration in these cases
  • we focus more resources on novel and complex applications which involve issues that might affect charitable status or which test or develop the charity framework
Example of a fast-tracked application

We received a registration application from a parent teacher association using a model governing document agreed with us by the umbrella body for parent teacher associations. The application showed that the organisation's activities are directed to charitable purposes for the public benefit and all of the information we needed, including about the trustees, was complete. This type of registration we would process quickly.


Example of a new type of charity

We received a registration application from a local bridge club with a purpose to advance amateur sport by promoting the game of bridge. To be charitable the applicant had to demonstrate that the playing of bridge is capable of promoting a person's health. We considered the evidence provided to us by the applicant and were satisfied that this had been demonstrated and that all other aspects of charitable status and public benefit were satisfied. The club was registered as a charity, the first of its kind to be registered.


Detailed guidance


What makes a charity (CC4) Explains what legal requirements an organisation has to satisfy to be a charity

Charity Commission risk framework Sets out our regulatory approach and how we assess risk. Find out how we decide when and how to deal with individual cases.

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