THE Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has published a report that lists recommendations made at the Red Tape Reduction Forum held in Canberra in December 2013.
Recommendations in the Measuring and Reducing Red Tape in the Not-For-Profit Sector report include:
– Harmonising regulation and reporting across the not-for-profit (NFP) sector
– Government regulators adopting a ‘light touch’ approach, with compliance interventions a last resort
– Measuring the red tape burden
– Reducing red tape for volunteers
– Organisations providing only one set of audited accounts to different government agencies.
The report says the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission’s (ACNC’s) light touch approach, which was developed in conjunction with the NFP sector, is continuing to work well. One recommendation from the forum is to expand this approach to regulatory agencies across the Federal Government.
In another move to reduce red tape, ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe also recently announced she will exercise her discretion to accept financial reports submitted to state and territory government in place of ACNC Annual Financial Reports for the 2014 reporting period.
This announcement means that when charities complete their 2014 Annual Information Statements with the ACNC, they will be able to electronically submit the same financial reports which they provide to their state regulators.
The move will cut red tape to medium (annual revenue of $250,000 to $1 million) and large charities (annual revenue of $1 million and over), many of which are incorporated associations operating in the states and territories.
In other news, the ACNC has found that children are the most likely to directly benefit from Australian charities.
Data from charities that have already submitted their 2013 Annual Information Statements (AIS) to the ACNC show that children are the most nominated beneficiaries of charities, followed by the general community, youth, women and aged persons.
Data gathered from charities’ AIS form the building blocks for the ACNC Register – the first credible database on charities in Australia. This data will be available to the proposed National Centre for Excellence in the future, for the purposes of advocacy, research and development.
The ACNC has analysed the first set of data to provide insights for charities and the broader community on the nature and work of charities.
Ms Pascoe said: “For the first time, we are beginning to get a picture of the activities and beneficiaries of the charitable sector.”