Regulators announce what’s to be expected in the new SORP

Charity Comments Off on Regulators announce what’s to be expected in the new SORP

The analysis of the consultation on the draft new Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) has been published by the Charity Commission, independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) as the joint charities SORP-making body.

The SORP provides a comprehensive framework for charity accounting and reporting that enables charities to adopt a consistent interpretation of financial reporting standards and to account for those transactions that arise when undertaking charitable activities. All charities that prepare their accounts on a ‘true and fair’ basis (also known as accruals accounts) must follow the SORP.

In their joint role as the SORP-making body for UK charities, the regulators have been working with the sector-based SORP Committee to write a new SORP specifically to accommodate the new Financial Reporting Standard (FRS102) and also support charities that choose to continue reporting under the Financial Reporting Standard for Smaller Entities (FRSSE).

The consultation received 179 written responses and the points raised during discussion at 18 public events about the draft SORP were also taken into account. The analysis highlights positive feedback from respondents with 92% showing support for the modular approach adopted by the Committee and 69% agreeing that smaller charities will be better served by the new look modular SORP.

In the analysis the regulators detail a number of the decisions that have been made. These include:

  • Requiring all charities that submit accruals accounts under the SORP to disclose senior staff pay in bands over £60,000 (rather than only requiring this of larger charities subject to audit)1 with larger charities to disclose their pay and remuneration policy for senior staff in their report. The SORP committee explains that the disclosure of this information is of high value to funders (with 71%  supporting greater disclosure).
  • No to a minority view requesting a new requirement for the separate disclosure of income from government sources The consultation revealed little support for separate disclosure. The Committee agreed that imposing this disclosure was not justified and that funders could always request this information from the charity.
  • Clear signposting where the requirements of the SORP exceed the accounting standards to meet charity law and the public interest.
  •  New guidance on the treatment of legacy income, the UK retail Gift Aid scheme and on how to combine the Strategic Report (required of medium and large charitable companies) with the trustees’ annual report.
  •  In addition, it has been announced that there will be two SORPs: one based on the new FRS102 and the other on the FRSSE. Charities can then choose  which SORP to follow depending on which accounting standard they use.2 This is intended to ensure that imminent changes to the FRSSE framework can be handled more easily within a separate SORP and also allow those charities that follow the FRSSE framework to focus more clearly on requirements that apply specifically to them.

BWMacfarlane will be running a seminar on this topic shortly, to register your interest for this please contact Vicki Harper

For further information and any advice on charity accounting please contact Peter Taaffe or Lesley Malkin