Charity Commission endorses ACRE quality assessment system
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has endorsed the latest version of the ACRE Good Practice Quality Standard quality system.

The regulator’s Quality Assessment Endorsement Programme aims to increase the governance standards and accountability within charities by encouraging umbrella bodies to develop a set of quality standards that their members commit to.

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) is the national umbrella body of England’s 38 rural community councils (RCCs), who make up the ACRE Network. RCCs are charitable local development agencies, generally based at county level, which help rural communities to find innovative solutions to the challenges they face. Earlier versions of the ACRE Good Practice Quality Standard quality system were also endorsed by the Commission.

"ACRE’s work over the past ten years on implementing a high-level quality standards system for members of our Network is underpinned by a robust peer review process."

The Commission only endorses quality systems that meet its challenging benchmark for comprehensive, robust and objective assessments of how charities are run. Endorsed quality systems encourage compliance and accountability, and test for those key aspects of a charity’s governance that are most likely to produce a well-run, accountable and sustainable organisation.

Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said:

“I welcome ACRE’s continuing commitment to high standards of governance and service delivery in its network. Sector-led quality systems like this are among the best examples of charities’ self-reliance

It’s important that, whilst the Commission ensures compliance across the sector, we also support initiatives that recognise charities at the other end of the spectrum – those that are already compliant and are going further in delivering quality for their beneficiaries. These marks of quality are valuable indicators to the public that these charities are committed to high standards. We strongly recommend that all charities consider a form of governance quality assessment to help them maintain the provision of good services and with that, the trust and confidence in the sector.”

Janice Banks, Chief Executive of ACRE, said:

“ACRE’s work over the past ten years on implementing a high-level quality standards system for members of our Network is underpinned by a robust peer review process.The ACRE Standards have been enthusiastically adopted by the ACRE Network and allow members to demonstrate significant improvements, both in managing their organisation and in the delivery of services to the rural communities they serve.

Continuing endorsement by the Charity Commission is an acknowledgement that the ACRE Standards provides a rigorous and comprehensive test of our members’ commitment to good governance, sound financial management, legal compliance and continued improvement.”

The 4th edition of ACRE’s Good Practice Quality Standard is one of a number of similar quality systems established by and for the sector which have been supported by the Commission.

Please find more information about the Charity Commission Partnership Initiative and the Endorsement Programme on our website.