Commission publishes terrorism strategy

The Charity Commission will encourage trustees to carry out risk assessments on their organisations to protect them from being used by terrorists, the regulator announced yesterday.

The commission also pledged to provide bulletins for charities on the evolving terrorist risk in the voluntary sector.

The measures were contained in the commission's counter-terrorism strategy. A public consultation on the draft strategy, which was announced days before Christmas (Third Sector Online, 21 December) elicited only nine responses.

According to the commission's summary of responses to the consultation, most of the respondents endorsed its "proportionate, risk and evidence-based approach" and its commitment to providing guidance and support to charities that want to improve their governance structures to minimise the terrorist threat. This will include the creation of a toolkit for trustees to help them spot when their charities are being targeted by terrorists.

The terrorism strategy document says the commission is currently engaging with the sector to help it design an appropriate range of guidance. It says the commission will also target key stakeholders through events, seminars and email alerts.

It says that the commission is in a unique position to learn more about the terrorist threat through its casework, and will post up-to-date information about the nature of the threat on its website, as well as reporting annually on the lessons from its compliance work.

In its replies to the summary of responses, the commission dismissed concerns that its independence would be threatened by the need to justify the £1m extra funding it has received for terrorism work from the Treasury, pointing out that the figure will be included in the commission's overall budget settlement in future.

The document says: "Other high-risk areas of our compliance work will also benefit from a step change in strengthening many aspects of the compliance function, including our proactive monitoring and investigatory capacity, our broader outreach work and cooperation with government, law enforcement and other agencies."

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