Commission launches case review panel

Charities and individuals unhappy with the outcome of Charity Commission cases now have the option of a 'light touch' review of the decision.

From today, disputed cases will now be considered by the new Outcome Review Panel – a group of experienced commission staff who will assess whether the decision was reasonable. The panel will meet at the end of each month.

Possible remedies include an apology, correction of errors or, in cases where a great deal of financial hardship or injustice has been suffered, financial recompense.

Previously, dissatisfied customers had the option of taking the case to Jodi Berg, the commission’s Independent Complaints Reviewer. Under the new complaints regime, charities and individuals can still take their case to the reviewer if they remain unhappy after a panel decision.

The panel will consider only those cases in which the commission has not used its statutory powers, which include freezing bank accounts or removing trustees. For cases in which the regulator has used these powers, the option of a formal review, carried out by the commission’s legal advisers, remains in place.

The commission said it would also attempt to resolve more complaints within the team that dealt with the disputed cases. Initial reviews will be carried out at a more senior level than the original caseworker.

Kenneth Dibble, executive director, legal services and compliance at the commission, said: “This new procedure offers an enhanced service for our customers to have their concerns looked at fairly and impartially. It is another important element in the commission’s continuing development as an accountable and customer-focused organisation.”

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