Questions on Charity Commission effectiveness

The National Audit Office has issued its report ‘The regulatory effectiveness of the Charity Commission’. The NAO’s own web page leads with “The Charity Commission is not regulating charities effectively. It fails to take tough action in some serious cases and makes poor use of its powers”. Both an executive summary and the full report can be found at http://www.nao.org.uk/report/regulatory-effectiveness-charity-commission/.

While the Charity Commission accepts and endorses the recommendations of the National Audit Office, it also states that the NAO did not review many areas of its core responsibilities and “we do not therefore believe the NAO’s conclusions on the effectiveness of our regulation and value for money as a whole are justified by the evidence”. Commission response.

The chair of the House of Commons public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, has subsequently been quoted as saying that the Charity Commission was ‘not fit for purpose’. The Guardian’s coverage.

Two sector statements:

  • Charity Finance Group, including “We should be careful not to tar all elements of the Commission’s work with the same negative brush”;
  • NCVO says that “While it is important the Commission doesn’t throw the book at charities that have made a simple mistake, for too long it has veered the other way, taking a soft-touch approach in even the most serious cases”. Further sector comments in Civil Society Media article http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/governance/news/content/16549/.

NCVO also has a useful ‘Your two-minute guide to the NAO report‘ and their head of public policy’s ‘The NAO and the Charity Commission: where next?’ at http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2013/12/04/the-nao-and-the-charity-commission/, which finishes with “In conclusion, the Commission is worth fighting for – its new strategy is broadly right”.

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