This study looks at all charities registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales and where their income is more than 1 million.
The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the key movers and shakers in the charity sector. Only key data has been isolated, particularly the last five years' income, but also the date registered, their address, activities, telephone number, web address, number of employees and number of volunteers.
Although charities have existed since before biblical times, and many current religious charities date back many centuries, they were only required to be publicly registered under the Charities Act 1960.
The Charities Act 2011 lists the purposes for establishing a charity: the prevention or relief of poverty; the advancement of education; religion; health or the saving of lives; citizenship or community development; arts, culture, heritage or science; amateur sport; human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity; environmental protection or improvement; animal welfare; the relief of those in need because of youth, age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage; and the promotion of the efficiency of the armed forces of the Crown or of the efficiency of the police, fire and rescue services or ambulance services.
There are tax advantages for charities: no corporation tax is paid, no income tax is paid by the trustees, eligible for 80% mandatory relief on business rates. In addition, they can reclaim the income tax paid on donations through GiftAid and gifts are exempt from inheritance tax.
The sector is characterised by large number of volunteers without whose dedication the relief that their respective charities provide would be diminished. Trustees, apart from expenses, normally receive no payment for their services. The charity sector is dependent on good people, but perhaps more importantly, given their large incomes, people with strong financial and management skills.
Some charities, mainly for historic reasons, have long names. We have used these in the profile section but have abbreviated them in the league table. Thus, The College of The Holy and Undivided Trinity in the University of Oxford of The Foundation of Sir Thomas Pope, next to Blackwell's bookshop in Broad Street, is referred to as 'Trinity College'.