The number of concerns received by the Irish Charities Regulator about organisations in 2017 was 67% greater than the previous year, according to its annual compliance report.
The Charities Regulator received 531 concerns last year that 351 organisations may be in breach of the Charities Act 2009. However, more than half (52%) of the concerns related to organisations which were not registered charities, including charitable organisations carrying out activities while not being registered, and organisations misrepresenting themselves as charities.
An analysis of concerns received since the Charities Regulator was established in October 2014, up to the end of 2017, shows the main category of concerns related to financial control and transparency (29%), legitimacy of a charity (23%) and governance (23%).
The Charities Regulator receives concerns from a variety of sources including members of the public, other government bodies/regulators and through its own monitoring.
First full year
2017 was the first full year the Charities Regulator had powers under the Charities Act 2009 (Part 4) to protect charitable organisations. These include powers to investigate the affairs of charitable organisations, to require production of documents and to impose intermediate sanctions.
The work of the compliance team was also shared with the public. The Charities Regulator issued public information notices regarding house-to-house collections, and the Charities Regulator’s work relating to shops, which were describing themselves as charity shops, but which were not part of registered Irish charities.
An examination of the concerns received during 2017 highlighted recurring issues which were affecting the ability of charity trustees to meet their legal duties to effectively manage and control their organisations. The largest categories related to trustee duties and responsibilities and internal financial controls.
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