How do fee charging charities show they are operating in public benefit? article banner image

If a charity charges for the provision of its charitable activities then it must show that the charity is operating in the public benefit and that the low paid in particular are not excluded from the opportunity to benefit from the charity’s work. Theoretically this has always been the case but there has been renewed emphasis upon this since the 2006 Charities Act. The Charity Commission has recently updated its guidance for fee charging charities and in particular private schools.

Fee charging charities must show that they have a clear and thought-through strategy in place to ensure and keep under review how the charity is operating in the public benefit and have applied the Charity Commission guidance. This approach has led to many new initiatives by national charities over the past decade such as cinema broadcast of live arts performances and collaborative working with other organisations working at grass roots level.

An explanation of how a charity is operating in the public benefit is a key element of the Annual Return. It needs to show the exercise that the charity has done to ensure its activities are not in practice accessible only by those who are relatively well off. The report can be critical for grant funders and individual donors looking to support the charity and it needs to be carefully worded.


Our charity team could undertake a review for you of your public benefit reporting and help you put in place a strategy. For more information, please contact 01726 74433 or