The Charities Act 2011 consolidates existing legislation from the Recreational Charities Act 1958, the Charities Act 1993 and much of the Charities Act 2006. The 2011 Act does not change existing law or introduce new policy but updates text and simplifies the structure of the existing legislation. The Act will come into force on 14 March 2012.
In practical terms, this means that reference should be made to the 2011 Act in accounts, independent examination and audit reports on or after 14 March 2012, irrespective of the financial year to which the accounts or document refers to. Further information on when to update your accounting policies and documents for the Charities Act 2011 is available in a recent article for ICAEW's Charity and Voluntary Sector Group.
It is also worth noting that the Charities Act 2011 does not include part 3 of the 2006 Act which would make the Charity Commission the lead regulator of public charitable collections. This will be considered as part of the Charities Act 2006 review being led by Lord Hodgson. The ICAEW has expressed an interest in participating in this review to the Cabinet Office and is looking for feedback on particular areas, including accounting, audit and reporting.