What we do
The Jersey Charity Commissioner is established by the Law as a corporation sole, independent of both the Ministry and the legislature. The general functions of the office flow from the Law, together with certain regulations and orders made under it.
In summary, her or his main functions are to:
- determine the charity test for the purposes of registration and to ensure that registered charities’ meeting the charity test is continuant
- maintain the charity register, which has three sections: the general, the restricted and the historic
- publish and maintain guidance on the operation of the Law
- supervise the compliance of charity governors with their duties. (The heart of those is that governors are to seek, in good faith, to ensure that their charities act in a manner consistent with their registered charitable purposes and registered public benefit statements.)
- seek to ensure that the expression ‘charity’ is used but in respect of registered charities, or UK charities operating at Jersey but not wholly or mainly managed from there, as warranted by the Law
- assist other persons (including the Attorney General, the court, the Bailiff, the Comptroller and the Financial Services Commission, and equivalent bodies in other lands) to discharge, in relation to registered charities and entities with charitable purposes, any function of such a person under any enactment or law
- generally encourage, facilitate and monitor compliance of registered charities with the Law; and
- do anything (other than acting as a governor of a charity or of an entity with charitable purposes) that is calculated to facilitate, or is conducive or incidental to, the performance of any of her or his functions.
The Commissioner may provide information to the public about the system of registration of charities, including information about the difference between charities and bodies with charitable purposes, information about the advantages of donating to entities that are registered as charities, and information by way of model constitution, advise the Minister as to the nature of charities in Jersey and as to the merits of any proposal for further regulation of charities.
In performing her or his functions, so far as appears to her or him to be reasonably practicable, seek to act in a way that protects public trust and confidence in registered charities, and is compatible with the encouragement of all forms of charitable giving and voluntary participation in the work of registered charities, which is proportionate as to the burdens imposed on registered charities, and which supports their development.
John Frederick Mills CBE, MA, B.Litt
Meet the Commissioner
John Mills had a lengthy public service career in the UK, Hong Kong and Jersey, holding a range of senior positions including as a member of the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit and as a director at the Office of Fair Trading. In the 1990s he forsook Whitehall for local government, becoming chief executive of Cornwall County Council. From there he was recruited to the role of chief executive (Policy and Resources) in Jersey, the senior post in the States administration. He ended his full-time career in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London, where he was Director of Rural Policy. Upon retiring, he was awarded the CBE for services to the Department.
Over the last fifteen years John has held a variety of non-executive roles in Jersey and in the UK. He was a Commissioner of the Financial Services Commission from 2009-14 and was a director of Ports of Jersey Ltd from its incorporation in 2015 until 2019, having been appointed to the Shadow Board for the incorporation in 2010. He has been the Jersey-based director of the Channel Islands Financial Ombudsman since 2014, standing down in 2023. Honorary roles in Jersey have included membership of the former States Members Remuneration Review Body from 2011-17 and Tax Commissioner of Appeal (2009 – 2017), from which latter role he has stepped down upon appointment as the first Jersey Charity Commissioner in 2017.
As a governor of a large London-based educational charity in the quarter century up to 2017 (including some 18 years as chairman of the trustees) John gained considerable experience of charity governance and public benefit delivery in a regulated environment akin to that which now obtains in Jersey and for which he is responsible as Commissioner.
John was educated at Highgate School, London, and at the University of Oxford, where he gained first-class honours in the School of Modern History and subsequently read for a research degree in mediaeval English history. He is a sometime Senior Scholar of Merton College, Oxford.