The Charity Commission assessed almost 1,000 more charities over possible wrongdoing in 2009/10 than in the previous year, according to a report published today.
The report, called Back on Track, shows the regulator opened 2,434 assessment cases – which it uses to decide whether to investigate a charity – during the financial year 2009/10. In 2008/09 it opened 1,504 cases.
As a result of these assessments, the commission opened 180 new investigations during the year, but only nine of these were statutory inquiries, the form of investigation that allows the commission to use statutory powers, including the ability to freeze a charity's assets and direct trustees to take certain actions.
In 2008/09, the commission opened 168 investigations, of which 19 were statutory.
The commission increased its number of regulatory compliance cases, in which it cannot use its full statutory powers, from 149 in 2008/09 to 171 this year.
The report also showed that the number of serious incidents reported to the commission increased from 255 to 451 in the same period. It revealed that fraud and theft worth £21m was reported to the commission during 2009/10, but warned that many trustees fail to report serious incidents of fraud and theft to the commission.