The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has been receiving an average of eight concerns about charities a month, according to the latest figures from the regulator.
Lessons Learned: Focus on Charity Trustees, which was published today, says the commission received almost 370 concerns about charities between February 2011, when it gained its powers of investigation, and the start of December 2014. Almost 320 of the concerns raised have been concluded, the report says.
In March 2014, when the last report was published, the commission had received 284.
The concerns raised have led to seven statutory inquiries, resulting in the removal of a trustee from a charity, the suspension of a number of trustees with consideration of their removal, the suspension of a chief executive of a charity with consideration of removal and the appointment of an interim manager to a charity, the report says.
It says adherence to charities’ governing documents is a prevalent issue. "Many of the concerns received by the commission relate to issues where trustees are simply not complying with the charity’s own governing document," says the report.
Examples include insufficient numbers of meetings, annual general meetings being improperly conducted, concerns over financial procedures and conflicts of interests.
The CCNI’s charity registration process has highlighted the number of charities operating without the minimum number of trustees stipulated within their governing documents.
"The commission has received a number of concerns where the dominance of a single person has created issues in relation to transparency, private benefit and conflicts of interest," the report says.
It says that this can lead to issues of transparency and conflicts of interest.
The previous report, published in March, noted concerns about charity property, payments and expenses for trustees, disagreements and disputes within a charity, and recruiting and managing staff.