Immediate release 4 July 2012
Charities' role in society is increasingly seen as essential, according to independent research by Ipsos MORI, conducted on behalf of the Charity Commission, the regulator of charities in England and Wales. The research shows that there has been an increase in the number of people who feel that charities play an 'essential' role in society (37% compared to 30% in 2010). Overall, 96% of people say charities' role is essential, very important or fairly important.
Overall, public trust and confidence in charities remains high, with a mean score of 6.7 (up from 6.6 in 2010). The research shows that charities are still one of the most trusted groups, with only the police and doctors being more trusted.
The research also shows that the overwhelming majority of people believe charities should provide the public with information on 'how they spend their money' (96%) and on 'how they benefit the public' (94%). The public view on this has remained unchanged over time.
Awareness of the Charity Commission has increased over the past six years - 55% of people say they have heard of the Commission .This is a significant increase on 2005, when 46% of people said they had heard of the Charity Commission. Also, the public value the Commission's work highly; when its role is explained to them, 98% say its role is essential, very or fairly important.
The most common reason why some charities are trusted less is not knowing how their money is spent (36% who trust certain charities less than others mention this). The most common reason given for trusting a charity more is having seen or experienced what they do (38%), unchanged from 2010.
Other key findings include:
Commenting on the report, Dame Suzi Leather, Chair of the Charity Commission said:
"I am delighted that these research findings confirm that public trust and confidence in charities remains high. During these difficult economic times for charities, I hope the sector will take heart from this vote of confidence, and be reassured that the public recognises the essential role charities play in our society.
This research also underlines how seriously the public takes accountability and transparency among charities. It is vital that charities take heed of this, including by ensuring they file their annual documents with the Charity Commission on time.
As my term comes to an end, I am also pleased to note that the role of the Commission as regulator is recognised by the public as being of vital importance. Not only are increasing proportion of people aware of the Commission's existence - they clearly also recognise that the work we do contributes directly to a charity sector they can trust."
The full report of the Public Trust and Confidence Research and the Commission's initial analysis is available on the Commission's website.
For more information on the research, please contact the press office.
Notes to Editors
1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.
2. To be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales acting in the public's interest to ensure that:
3. Ipsos MORI spoke to 1,142 adults aged 18+ in England and Wales from 4-21 May 2012. Interviews were conducted by telephone.
4. There are over 160,000 main registered charities, some of which have similar names or working names. To avoid confusion, each registered charity can be identified by its individual registration number, which can be checked on the Register of Charities.
5. Finding charities on the online Register: if you know the name or number of a particular charity you are looking for, type it into the box. If you wish to find charities of a certain size, you can select the income band you want. If you want to look for charities with overdue documents, at the top of the search page select 'charities with latest documents overdue' as opposed to the default setting of 'registered charities'. Select the country you are looking in (i.e. England or Wales), and select 'specific areas' to choose which county you want.
6. Dame Suzi Leather's term of office as Chair of the Charity Commission comes to an end on the 31st July 2012. She has served two terms, having taken up the role in July 2006.
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