The Prevention or Relief of Poverty for the Public Benefit

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The Prevention or Relief of Poverty for the Public Benefit

Charity Commission document highlighting the need for charities to have a public benefit.

‘Public benefit’ is the legal requirement that every organisation set up for one or more charitable aims must be able to demonstrate that its aims are for the public benefit if it is to be recognised and registered as a charity in England and Wales. This is known as the ‘public benefit requirement’.
Charitable aims are those that fall within the various descriptions of purposes in the Charities Act 2006 (including any new purposes that might be recognised as charitable in the future), and which are for the public benefit. You can find out more about this in our Commentary on the Descriptions of Charitable Purposes in the Charities Act on our website.
Although all charities have always had to meet the public benefit requirement, the Charities Act highlights it by requiring all charities to demonstrate, explicitly, that their aims are for the public benefit, including charities advancing education or religion, or relieving poverty, which were previously presumed to be for the public benefit.
We have an obligation to ensure all charities meet the public benefit requirement and to provide guidance on what the requirement means. Charity trustees have a legal duty to have regard to our public benefit guidance and to report on their charity’s public benefit.

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