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Charity Commission takes online registrations to public beta



Latest step in move to 'digital by default' involves new service running alongside existing process for 'short period'

The Charity Commission has launched a public beta version of its new online registration service as the latest step in its 'digital by default' strategy.

It plans to run the beta alongside the existing registration service until it has passed the relevant tests, following which it will become fully operational and the old service will be removed.

No firm timeframe has been set for the transition, but the commission has said it should be “a short period”, and urged customers with partially completed applications to complete and submit them in full.

Stephen Grenfell, head of registration at the Charity Commission, said: “We want to create a smooth and intuitive experience for all those who use our service. Given that we receive on average 680 new applications for registration each month, we’ve designed the service to make our work more efficient, as well as improving the experience our customers have.”

Among the new service's features are a redesigned application form, aimed at making guidance more accessible and the process quicker, and tailored question sets for different types of charity. These are focused on customer responses to provide the commission with more information. The first set is for animal charities and new ones will be introduced over the next few months.

Printing request

The commission has also responded to requests from users in enabling them to print off the completed sections of their application forms.

Other new features include auto prompting and completion, a charity name check facility and quicker turnaround times.

This follows closely on the commission's launch of a beta version of a new online search tool, and the creation of a specialised taxonomy as the basis for online submission of accounts by charities.

Its most recent assessment by the Government Digital Service, published in May of last year, said it was on track to meet the Digital by Default Service Standard. It had a multidiscplinary team in place, had been using agile processes and shown a good understanding of the data being captured.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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