The role of the division is to identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities and to resolve difficulties encountered. We do this either by providing regulatory advice and guidance to trustees or, where necessary, intervening to protect the charity by using the Commission's legal powers.
We aim to deliver an expert and cutting edge modern investigatory and compliance function that investigates and deals rigorously with abuse of charities, and activities carried out in the name of charity. Our priority is always to help put charities back on a proper footing and to meet their legal requirements, confidently taking robust remedial and protective action where this is appropriate and it is proportionate to do so.
We both detect and prevent abuse, and disrupt the activities of those seeking to abuse charities. An important part of our role is to help charities protect themselves by raising awareness of risks to the sector and compliance requirements, and by providing effective targeted advice, guidance and support.
Our work directly helps to create an environment where the public can and do have trust and confidence in the activities and probity of charities.
Our key priorities are to:-
Our Compliance Assessment Unit applies our risk and proportionality framework for our compliance work to quickly assess issues of concern arising in charities which come to our attention, and decide the most appropriate and proportionate course of action to take. This means we determine whether we will engage further with the issue; the level of priority, attention and resources we will give it, and where in the Commission it will be dealt with. This is based on the particular circumstances, the seriousness and scale of the problem and the available evidence. We may find that some cases are best dealt with by other areas of the Commission. Many other cases can be dealt with directly by the Compliance Assessment Unit by providing advice and guidance. Where there is a serious regulatory issue and this is not possible, cases are referred to one of the Compliance Investigations Units or on to the Compliance Monitoring Unit. Further details of how we assess cases in our compliance work can be found in our Risk and Proportionality Framework for the Commission's Compliance Work on our website.
Most concerns are dealt with through non-statutory investigations called "regulatory compliance cases" where the risk is more limited and where it is likely that issues can be resolved and the charity brought back onto a secure footing through providing supervision, advice and guidance to trustees, and without the need to intervene by using our powers. However, in the few cases of significant risk and more serious regulatory concern we may open a statutory inquiry under section 8 of the Charities Act 1993. The decision to open an inquiry will usually be based on a matrix of factors where there is evidence or serious suspicion of misconduct or mismanagement or risk to property. These are set out in our risk and proportionality framework for the Commission's compliance work.
Whichever kind of intervention is decided upon we use a multi-disciplinary team approach, and our investigation teams are supported, for example, by in-house accountancy and legal professionals.
Based on our casework experience in recent years, we continue to believe that the most serious issues and areas of greatest risk for charities, in no order of priority, include:
Such issues of concern in the management and administration of charities can come to our attention through various means including:
We also proactively identify concerns in charities through our other compliance work or contact with individual charities.
The Compliance Division comprises four core work streams. These are:
Compliance Monitoring, Assessment and Intelligence (Liverpool and London)
This unit is the primary gateway into Compliance both externally and internally. It provides an integrated assessment function to consider issues of serious concern arising in charities and referred to the Commission from external sources or other parts of the business. It also provides our new monitoring capability, and a gateway for managing our relationships with other regulators, government departments and law enforcement agencies in support of our compliance work.
Compliance Investigations Unit - London
This unit, based in London, comprises two investigation teams which undertake the most complex, high profile and highest risk investigation cases involving alleged mismanagement and misconduct in charities. Investigations involving allegations of terrorism are dealt with here.
Compliance Investigations Unit - Liverpool
This unit deals with all other investigations and carries out both regulatory compliance cases and statutory inquiries.
Outreach and Development (London and Liverpool)
This unit works to raise awareness and understanding of the Commission's compliance work internally and externally; publicising the outcomes and wider lessons from our compliance work, and promoting key compliance messages to the sector and the general public. The team also supports continuing and effective development of the Division's strategy and plans, Compliance policies, procedures and systems. The unit has an external email address for use by members of the public to comment on its publications:
Contact us if you have concerns about charities
If you have concerns about a charity or charities please contact us in one of the ways set out here:
Trustees should report serious incidents to the Commission as soon as they are aware of them. This report can be made in one of the following ways:
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