Charity Commission for NI Scheme of Delegation Consultation

Closed 12 Jun 2023

Opened 20 Mar 2023


The Department for Communities is consulting on a Scheme of Delegation for the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The High Court Judgment of May 2019 in McKee & Hughes (and others) v The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, subsequently confirmed by the Court of Appeal in February 2020 found that the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (the Commission) did not have the power to delegate its functions to staff. This rendered almost 7,500 regulatory decisions taken by staff unlawful. The Minister for Communities introduced a Charities Bill to make those decisions previously taken by staff lawful, where to do so, did not impinge on the rights of individuals under the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition, the Bill which became the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 (the Act) allows that the Department for Communities (DfC) may make a Scheme of Delegation which, if made, would permit some functions of the Commission to be delegated to staff.  This in effect would mean that staff could make those regulatory decisions going forward as is the case in England & Wales, Scotland and Republic of Ireland, provided they are stipulated in a Scheme of Delegation. However, the legislation also stipulates that certain functions, which in the main are taken during the course of a statutory inquiry, can never be delegated to staff, for instance, the disqualification and removal of a trustee, or appointment of an interim manager or charity trustees. 

If made, the Act stipulates that the Scheme will be published in order that there is full transparency as to how the Commission takes its regulatory decisions. In making a Scheme of Delegation the legislation stipulates that the first Scheme should be subject to public consultation.

In parallel to the bringing forward of the Charities Bill, the Minister instigated an Independent Review of Charity Regulation in NI.  One of the matters considered during the course of the Review was the proper discharge of the functions of the Commission with the Review recommending the development of a Scheme of Delegation in line with international best practice.

DfC officials met with a number of representative groups and some that had previously expressed a view on the issue of delegation in order to help inform the consultation material, including this questionnaire.

It is advisable that you read the consultation document (link will open in a new window) before completing this survey.

Why your views matter

Consultation responses will be used by DfC to help determine and develop any Scheme of Delegation. The purpose of the Scheme of Delegation would be to allow the Commission to function effectively and provide openness and transparency as to how the Commission takes its decisions. This is so that the public has full confidence that those decisions would be taken at the appropriate level within the Commission.

Whether you are a charity trustee, a member of a charity, a charity volunteer or a member of the public that supports or benefits from charities, we want to hear your views on this important issue. We are also interested in hearing the views of legal advisors, funders and other regulators or bodies that interact with the Commission. 

Your responses to this consultation will make an important contribution to the Department’s work and the results will assist in developing any Scheme of Delegation that commands widespread public trust and allows the Commission to provide a more efficient service to all charities and their beneficiaries in NI.


  • Citizens
  • Voluntary and Community Sector


  • Consultation
  • Policy Development