13 September 2011
Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, has announced the launch of a project to help charities review their financial controls and systems of risk management.
Speaking at ICAEW's Charity and Voluntary Sector Group Conference in London, Sam Younger said that the project comes as a precursor to a wider Review Programme being developed in partnership with the sector and other relevant partners.
He said the initial project would see charities receiving a free review of their systems of financial management and controls, to be conducted by an ICAEW member with relevant sector experience. The results of the reviews would be collated anonymously and analysed by the reviewers to help the Commission and the sector gain a better understanding of the risks facing charities.
Nick Brooks, Chair of the Charities and Voluntary Sector Group at the ICAEW said:
"This is an exciting new project that will further enable our members to continue to add value to the charities they work with."
During his speech on 13 September, Sam Younger said the project would benefit the wider sector:
"I am delighted that ICAEW is collaborating with us on this initial project. I am hopeful that the reviews that ICAEW members carry out will prove useful not only to the individual charities taking part, but to the sector more widely."
Sam Younger went on to say that the review will help improve the Commission's and the sector's collective intelligence about how charities are using financial management and financial controls to handle risk. He said the project will help prepare the Commission for the development of a wider Review Programme, which is being developed in collaboration with a broad range of organisations, including charity umbrella bodies. He said that any lessons learnt during this project would be applied to the Commission's work on the Review Programme."
Sam Younger stressed that this project, and the upcoming Review Programme, should be seen as part of a bigger picture:
"I hope this project will prove just one step towards a wider culture change in the sector - a change that sees individual boards of trustees gain renewed confidence in their own abilities and judgement and which sees the sector as a whole taking greater responsibility for maintaining standards of governance, anticipating risk, and nipping problems in the bud. The Commission will still be here to provide guidance for charities, to deal with serious problems and to investigate in cases of serious risk of harm to charities or their assets. But we can't achieve the ultimate aim alone – especially in light of the reduction to our resources. And that aim is to maintain and promote public trust in and support for charities, without which none of us would be here."
He described the changing relationship between the Commission and individual charities in terms of a journey:
"In the past, we were there on the ground with individual charities, holding their hands, pushing and pulling them in the right direction, taking the reins when problems arose. In future, we will be taking a more hands-off approach – encouraging charities to make their own way with the help of maps and road signs that we make available. This change of focus means we should be better able to look ahead, scanning the horizon for potential risk and ensuring our guidance is always fit for the next challenge. I'm convinced that is the right approach for a 21st century regulator, especially one that has to manage its resources carefully."
Charities wishing to express an interest in taking part in the review project should contact the ICAEW at email@example.com
Reviewers wishing to take part can contact the ICAEW at firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalists wishing further information about the review project can contact the press office
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