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Principal Regulator: further education corporations in Wales and St David’s college

Related Links

Our conditions on the provision of grants or grant aid to further education institutions and higher education institutions providing further education in Wales.
Guidance on audit requirements for Governing bodies of Further Education Institutions, in line with our conditions of funding.
Tell us if you want any of the documents on this page in an alternative format.
The Charities Act 2011 requires exempt charities to be regulated by a Principal Regulator. In Wales, Ministers are the Principal Regulators.

Further education corporations in Wales are charities with exempt status which must be regulated.

Legislation

The Charities Act 2006 created a regulatory framework for exempt charities. This was reviewed and now schedule 3 of the Charities Act 2011 replaces the 2006 act outlining exempt charities.

Charity Commission

The Charity Commission is the regulator of charities in England and Wales, it has five objectives to:

  • increase public trust and confidence in charities
  • promote awareness and understanding of the operation of public benefit
  • promote compliance by charity trustees with their legal obligations in exercising control and management of their charities
  • promote the effective use of charitable resources
  • enhance the accountability of charities to  beneficiaries and general public.

Principal Regulator

This role is to promote exempt charities’ compliance with charity law for the charities they regulate. It involves working closely with the Charity Commission. If the Principal Regulator identifies a concern with a particular charity they can invite the Charity Commission to use its powers of investigation and intervention.

A principal regulator must:

  • promote charity trustees’ compliance with charity law
  • monitor charity law compliance
  • ensure when a complaint is received about an exempt charity which concerns its compliance with charity law, the Welsh Ministers will refer the matter to the Commission
  • work with the Commission to ensure that its exempt charities are accountable to the public.

We have provided a guidance document which includes an overview of the role of the Principal Regulator in Wales and the responsibilities of further education corporations and St David’s Catholic Sixth Form College in complying with charity law.

This guidance is not intended to act as a comprehensive guide nor as an authoritative statement of the law; it instead provides an overview and identifies relevant sources of information. Corporations remain responsible for taking their own advice on corporate governance and the obligations flowing from their charitable status.

What this means for members of Governing bodies of Further Education Corporations

The members of Governing bodies of Further Education Corporations are classified as ‘trustees’ of the charities they serve. Charity trustees are responsible for overseeing a charity and directing how it is managed and run.

As a trustee their responsibilities will include but are not limited to:

  • carrying out your charity’s purposes for the public benefit
  • complying with your charity’s governing document and law
  • acting only in the charity’s best interests
  • managing the charity’s resources responsibly
  • acting with reasonable care and skill.

These requirements can be met by the following:

  • adhering to the charities Instrument and Articles of Government
  • having regard to the Charity Commission's guidance on public benefit
  • including a statement on public benefit in the Corporation’s Annual Report
  • ensuring funds and assets of the corporation are only used for the purposes set out in the governing document
  • being well informed of the overall condition of the charity’s estate, ensuring that it is being properly used and adequately insured
  • preparing timely accounts and annual reports making them available to the public on the website.

In addition it is good practice for charities to publish charity information on the website including:

  • the governing document
  • name of trustees
  • a summary of what the charity does alongside the accounts.

More detailed guidance about the role of charity trustee is available from the Charity Commission.

Working together

We have published a joint Memorandum of Understanding with the Charity Commission to clarify how we will work together in future. We already have in place a robust system to monitor a corporation’s performance. This includes the terms and conditions of funding, financial memorandum, financial health monitoring procedures and audit code of practice as well as statutory powers of intervention exercisable in certain prescribed circumstances. 

Therefore trustees should be able to undertake these requirements with minimal change to their normal duties.

Further Information

The Charity Commission’s web-site is useful to obtain relevant guidance. Sign up to receive the latest updates (external link)

If you have a query and need assistance you must contact the Principal Regulator at principalregulatorfe@wales.gsi.gov.uk