What is a Charity?

‘All charities must have charitable purposes or ‘aims’ that are for the Public Benefit.  This is known as the ‘Public Benefit Requirement.’  Although all charities already have to meet this requirement, the Charities Act 2006 highlights it by explicitly including Public Benefit in the definition of a charitable purpose. 

In the past charities would presume to be for Public Benefit if they were for the relief of the poor, aged and infirm; advancement of religion; advancement of education.  Public Benefit needed to be established for other purposes deemed to be charitable.

No it is no longer possible to depend on such presumptions; all charities must prove that they are for Public Benefit.

Under the Charities Act 2006 there are now thirteen Heads of Charity (or definitions), these apply to England and Wales but those for Scotland vary slightly:

  1. Poverty
  2. Education
  3. Religion
  4. Health or saving lives
  5. Citizenship or community development
  6. Arts, culture, heritage or science
  7. Amateur sport
  8. Human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation
  9. Environment protection or improvement
  10. Relief of those who need
  11. Animal welfare
  12. Efficiency
  13. Other charitable purposes

Does your Charitable purpose fit any of these thirteen Heads of Charity?

Can you prove your charity meets its Public Benefit Requirement?

Please contact the Plummer Parsons specialist charity team for further information