How we ensure charities comply with their legal requirements

Where we investigate charities

The Commission has statutory objectives to ensure trustees comply with their legal obligations in managing charities and to increase public trust and confidence in charities. We also have a statutory function to identify and investigate abuse and mismanagement in charities. We do this in a number of ways through our compliance work. These include assessing concerns through our assessment casework, which may lead to us carrying out investigations or monitoring charities. In carrying out assessments and investigations we work, where appropriate, with other regulators, law enforcement agencies and other government departments. We ensure we raise awareness of the result of this work for the benefit of the wider sector.

Where we take enforcement action

We take enforcement action against charities in a number of ways.

This involves regulatory action taken during investigations into individual charities, including where we have used our powers to appoint interim managers.  We also maintain a list of individuals who have been disqualified from acting as a trustee of a charity on the Register of Removed Trustees.

In addition, we explain how we deal with charities that are in default of the submission of their annual accounts and returns. 

Our counter-terrorism work

Charities, just like any other type of organisation, can be vulnerable to criminal and terrorist abuse. While our experience is that proven instances of terrorist involvement or association in the charitable sector are extremely small, any such abuse is completely unacceptable and charities need to ensure they are not at risk. This section explains our counter-terrorism strategy and how we aim to raise awareness amongst all charities of how to safeguard themselves from this type of risk. It sets out what help there is for charity trustees to ensure they protect their own charity from terrorist and other abuse. 

Where we monitor charities

Regulatory oversight of concerns about abuse and non-compliance in the sector is an important role expected of any modern regulator. The primary purpose is to monitor charities where we have concerns that there is serious non-compliance, or believe that there is a significant risk of serious non-compliance within a charity. Regulatory supervision and monitoring work includes appropriate and targeted scrutiny of accounts, ensuring actions trustees have promised to carry out have been completed and carrying out compliance visits.

Where we appoint Interim Managers to charities

We aim to work co-operatively with charity trustees to put problems right together. Sometimes, however, trustees may refuse to work with us or a charity may be at serious financial or other risk if the trustee board remains in place. In these exceptional circumstances, we may appoint a professional, independent interim manager to run the charity in place of the trustees until its problems are resolved. We explain here when and how we do this.

When we can help resolve internal conflicts in a charity

When different groups within a charity disagree they often ask us to take one side or the other and impose a solution. However, a charity’s trustees have the responsibility for running their charity and we will only intervene in these types of internal disputes, in exceptional circumstances. This section explains where we can and cannot intervene. It also provides advice for trustees on how to resolve these types of conflicts.

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