Charities SORP

Application guidance for charity accounting

Terms of engagement

1. Purpose of the Trustee Engagement Strand

1.1. This Engagement Strand has been established to support the process of developing the next SORP by providing specific insight from the perspective of charity trustees. Other engagement strands will help to balance the needs of readers of the trustees’ annual report and accounts and preparers to enable a SORP that supports them and charity trustees to have flexibility to tell their charity’s story appropriately.

1.2 The Engagement Strand will specifically:

i) explore the benefits and constraints of the current Charities SORP from the charity trustee perspective (concluding no later than January 2021). The Engagement Strand will identify the needs and emerging issues relevant to trustees and consider any beneficial changes needed to the form and content of the SORP;
ii) reflect and consider how well the SORP and accounting standards currently meet these identified needs and issues of trustees and reflect on how these might be addressed or solved by changes to the SORP (concluding no later than July 2021);
iii) problem solve via ongoing discussion with the advisory SORP committee about those changes that will be commended to the SORP-making body to take forward in the drafting of the next SORP (concluding no later than January 2022);
iv) assist with the drafting of proposed changes to the SORP, as identified by the advisory SORP Committee (ideally completed January 2022 but must be aligned with the engagement strands and so complete no later than January 2023);
v) provide feedback and support the promotion to trustees of the FRC’s consultation activities informing the next SORP;
vi) assist with the promotion of the SORP’s publication (ideally September 2023); and
vii) provide post publication feedback and review of the process and experiences as engagement strand partners to offer insights to further improve the SORP.

2. Engagement Strand members

2.1 The members of the Engagement Strand include:

  • Susan Coffey - CIMA
  • Denise Copeland - NICVA
  • Anne Davis - IFA
  • Jenny Ebbage - Edwards & Co, Solicitors
  • Mike Farwell - James Cowper Kreston
  • Jonathan Grosskopf  
  • Anne Knox - Stirlingshire Voluntary Enterprise
  • Simon Ling - National Almshouse Association
  • Anne MacDonald       
  • Nicola Silverleaf - Honorary Treasurers’ Forum

2.2 The Engagement Strand members will be supported by a convenor and a representative of one of the charity regulators involved in the development of the SORP.

2.3 The convenor is Louise Thomson, of The Chartered Governance Institute. The convenor’s role is to:

  • chair meetings;
  • in liaison with members of the engagement strand, set the agenda; and
  • has the right to close a discussion of a point or a meeting at their discretion.

2.4 The convenor sets the frequency of meetings, their duration and the media used but any room hire must be agreed with the SORP-making body and adhere to the government guidance regarding social distancing and room cleanliness pertaining to the location of the meeting.

2.5 The convenor is the appointed link representing the work and insights of the engagement strand to fellow convenors working on other strands and the Joint-Chairs of the Charities SORP Committee.        

2.6 The Trustee Engagement Strand is supported in its work by Sarah Finnegan, Head of Compliance and Enquiries, of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and Joint Chair of the Charities SORP Committee. The SORP Committee representative will:

  • provide secretariat support to the work of the engagement strand; and
  • act as a formal conduit between the work of the engagement strand and the SORP Committee.

3. Structure of the Engagement Strand

3.1 As detailed in 2.3 meetings will be chaired by Louise Thomson, convenor for the strand.

3.2 Minutes will be taken of the meeting and circulated subsequently.

3.3 The chair will act as a co-ordinator at all meetings.

3.4 All decisions relating to the work, activities and recommendations of the engagement strand are made based on a consensus basis.

4. Engagement Strand meetings

4.1 Meetings will be scheduled suitably far in advance to enable the maximum number of members to attend the majority of meetings. Meetings will be scheduled in line with the different aspects of the work of the engagement strand as detailed in 1.2.

4.2 While views may be strongly held, meetings will be respectful and constructive in tone with each person being given the opportunity to participate and be heard without interruption. The convenor has the right to exercise their discretion to bringing the discussion of a matter to a close.

5. Review

5.1 These Terms of Engagement will be reviewed at each of the conclusion/start of each aspect of the engagement strand’s work to ensure they continue to support the work detailed in 1.2.

6. Transparency

6.1 The Trustee Engagement Strand is committed to being transparent in its work and discussions. As such those documents agreed by the strand to be shared more widely will be available via the SORP website.

6.2 It will be for the engagement strand to decide which of the papers it has produced will be shared more widely – in full or in a shortened version.

7. Confidentiality

7.1 Engagement partners may only publicly refer to publicly available information unless the convenor of the engagement strand or the joint chair(s) of the SORP Committee has given prior approval to publicly sharing that information.