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Charity Commission Meeting focuses on Financial Controls

The end of May saw nearly 100 representatives of charities and their advisors gather in Birmingham for a public meeting organised by the Charity Commission. The meeting focused on the issue of financial controls and included guest speakers from the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAEW) and the National Fraud Authority.

Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, highlighted the Commission’s new partnership strategy, through which it hopes to work more closely with individual charities to promote good governance. He also highlighted their efforts to promote accountability, including through the new mobile version of the website, which allows the public to access information on charities on the spot.

Nick Brooks, Chairman of the ICAEW’s Charity and Voluntary Sector Group, reported on a pilot project bringing together 25 charities and 25 ICAEW Chartered Accountants, who reviewed the charities’ financial controls and risk awareness. He highlighted a number of issues that had been raised by the work:

“Three key findings revealed by this pioneering project are that charities have concerns about attracting new trustees with the relevant skills base; that many charities were found to have generally weak fraud prevention policies; and that many charities have funding difficulties.”

He encouraged charities to address these problems by collaborating with other charities to share services and expertise, and help with associated funding difficulties. He also pointed to the need for the Commission to do more to cater for different types and sizes of charities.  

Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of the National Fraud Authority, emphasised the importance of charities sharing their experiences with fraud, as fraudsters often use the same approach many times to target a particular sector. Charities are therefore encouraged to report all instances of fraud to Action Fraud.

Michelle Russell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Commission, emphasised that tackling fraud remains one of the Commission’s top priorities.

 

 

Date: 4th July, 2012
Author: Wendy Bambrick

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