2117 serious incidents were reported to the Charity Commission in 2015-16, with 1804 cases opened, according to its Tackling Abuse & Mismanagement 2015-16 report, published on 20th December.
This is up from the previous year, when 1569 cases were opened. The report also reveals that the commission used its legal powers in 1248 cases, and directed charities to take action 71 times.
According to the commission’s report, in 2015-16 concerns about fundraising featured in 33 serious incidents reported to the commission, 82 opened operational compliance cases, 82 closed operational compliance cases, 63 monitoring cases, and 114 disclosures between the commission and other agencies.
The commission has previously identified and prioritised three strategic risks facing charities in its Risk Framework: fraud, financial crime and financial abuse, safeguarding issues, and abuse of charities for terrorist related purposes. A further four key themes emerged in this report, identified as governance issues (conflicts of interest, private benefit, and decision-making), charities facing financial distress, fundraising issues and registration compliance.
In fact, core governance issues came up in 68% of its opened operational compliance cases and 65% of its closed cases. Serious governance concerns featured in 42 new inquiries, 20 completed inquiries, 216 reports of serious incidents, 898 new operational compliance cases and 854 completed operational compliance cases, 105 new monitoring cases, and 140 disclosures between the commission and other agencies.
In addition, it states that less than half the accounts and annual reports of the small charities that the Charity Commission looked at (with an income of £25,000 or less) were up to standard, while a quarter of those from larger charities had major flaws. These include accounts that don’t balance, or that are not transparent enough; for example a quarter failed to provide the required disclosure on trustee remuneration in their accounts.
The full report can be read on the Charity Commission site.
Main video: Michelle Russell, commission director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement explains the work of her team and introduces the themes of the last year.