Charity Commission updates guidance on serious incidents, launches anti-fraud resource

The Charity Commission is consulting on proposed updates to its guidance for charities ‘What to do if something goes wrong: reporting serious incidents’. The guidance

aims to help charities identify what to report and when. Listing the most common types of incidents, the guidance explains what should be reported to the Commission (as well as to the police and other regulators). New checklists and a table of examples of what, and what not, to report to the Commission are included.

News release or go direct to the consultation pages. Consultation runs to 5pm, 12th January.

Notifiable events for Scottish charities

A similar process to notify the Scottish regulator of particular events came in from April 2016. Third Force News has an article written by a charity lawyer saying that

…  several months after the notifiable events guidance was introduced, many charities are unclear about events they are meant, or not meant, to report.

The article discusses some issues and lists the types of events covered. While it points out that there is no legal requirement for charities to report notifiable events to OSCR, the advice is to play safe.

Charities against fraud

The Charity Commission has also launched a new ‘Charities against fraud‘ website (on 24th October), as highlighted in its Autumn 2016 newsletter. The site will provide charities with good practice guidance and helpful signposting that will assist them in the fight against fraud.

The site launch marks the start of the first national Charity Fraud Awareness Week, running from 24th to 28th October. News release. Accountants Sayer Vincent are producing connected articles throughout the week including some real life cases of charity sector fraud  – note that the articles are on LinkedIn.

The Commission’s blog site has ‘Learning the lessons from reported charity frauds‘ giving some background information. This includes some key findings from reviewing fraud incidents:

  • Over a third of the frauds sampled were ‘internal’, meaning frauds originating within the charity (i.e. perpetrated by trustees, staff or volunteers)
  • The highest single reported loss to fraud was over £1 million
  • Common identifiable trends in many of these fraud cases include weak governance and poor financial controls, often coupled with excessive trust placed in key individuals within the charity.

While the Commission’s Senior Manager of Development and Intelligence explains why charities need to be aware of fraud on the Fraud Advisory Panel website.