Faith-based charities

Faith-based charities form a significant part of the charitable sector. The beneficiaries of these charities can be counted in their millions, and they make a huge contribution to communities across England and Wales.

This section introduces our guidance and other resources for faith-based charities.

Parochial Church Councils and chancel repair liability

Chancel repair liability is a liability on some property owners in England and Wales to fund repairs to the chancel of their local Anglican parish church. Trustees of Parochial Church Councils (PCCs) need to check if there is liability in the parish and consider whether to register that interest in chancel repair liability relating to land with the Land Registry by 12 October 2013.

Faith in good governance

Our core guidance for charities established with a religious purpose whose main focus is religious worship and related activities. As well as tailored guidance, it contains a number of good practice case studies. It incorporates helpful feedback the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit has received from several faith-based charities

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Registering as a faith-based charity

For a summary of information on registering as charity, and to learn how to take advantage of the benefits that registering as a charity can bring, read the following information leaflet which provides tailored advice for faith-based organisations:

Take a look at our mosque registration case studies to read about real-life examples.

Here is a charity registration checklist, which is mainly intended for umbrella or infrastructure organisations which help facilitate charity registration. It can help to track the progress of an organisation to registration.

Developing your governing document – step by step guidance to help faith-based organisations draw up or amend their governing document.

Our guidance on registering a charity explains what you need to do to apply to register online.

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Accounting and reporting – guidance for faith charities

The Commission has example Trustees Annual Reports and accounts to assist charities. These examples include faith based charities (a Parochial Church Council and a mosque)

Take a look at a case study of a mosque demonstrating good practice in the area of accountability and transparency.

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About the Faith and Social Cohesion Unit (FSCU)

The FSCU was established in 2007 with two main goals. One was to engage with faith-based charities already registered with the Commission, to help them achieve high standards of governance by providing tailored guidance, advice, information and support. The other was to raise awareness of the regulatory framework among those faith charities not, at the time, registered with the Commission.

Originally, we envisaged beginning our work with Muslim charities, before moving on to include charities from a wider range of faiths.

As the funding the Commission received from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has now come to an end, the unit will not continue in its present form.

However, the Commission remains committed to working with all faith based charities on our register. There’s more information about that work in the last FSCU newsletter.

In addition, some of the work undertaken by the FSCU will now be continued by the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB). More information about MINAB can be found on their website:

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Faith in Focus

The third and final issue of our newsletter Faith in Focus has now been published. You can view it and the previous issue using the following links.

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Listening to faith-based charities

Following our successful consultation with independent and black majority churches, the Commission ran a series of workshops with a whole range of faith-based charities in 2004-07, to learn more about the way they work and to help strengthen their governance and effectiveness.

We held a total of 15 events and met with over 800 representatives of faith-based organisations. These included representatives from the Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindi and Buddhist communities, as well as delegates from the UK’s smaller faiths such as Baha’i and Zoroastrian.

The events were hugely successful and have given the Commission a valuable insight into the main issues, concerns and tensions faced by these charities, and a clearer understanding of the benefits they bring to the communities in which they work. Summaries of the feedback from the events held with Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist and Hindu charities are available below in PDF format.

An overall summary of this work can be found in the publication Working with Faith Groups: The Charity Commission Faith Groups Programme 2004-07 .

Feedback from:

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Detailed survey of mosques

The Faith and Social Cohesion Unit of the Charity Commission published the first detailed survey of mosques in England and Wales in 2009. The survey is an independent piece of research by BMG Research and provides useful insights into mosques and their activities, and identifies areas for further research and exploration.

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Options for the disposal of redundant churches and other places of worship

English Heritage and the Department for Culture Media and Sport have written guidance, with support from the Charity Commission, for faith groups considering disposing of redundant places of worship.

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