The Charity Commission and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales have launched a free peer review programme to help charities to assess their financial governance and risk management.
Speaking on Tuesday at the ICAEW’s Charity and Voluntary Sector Group conference, Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, said any charity would be eligible for a free review, carried out by ICAEW members with knowledge of the sector.
He said the results of the reviews would be collected anonymously and analysed by the reviewers to give charities and the commission more information about the risks faced by the sector.
The commission expects that this will eventually be one of several streams in a wider peer review programme, which will look at most major aspects of charity governance and was announced by Younger earlier this year.
Younger said on Tuesday that he hoped the scheme was part of a move to a more relaxed approach from the commission.
"In the past, we were there on the ground with individual charities, holding their hands, pushing and pulling them in the right direction," he said. "In future, we will be taking a more hands-off approach.
"I hope this project will prove just one step towards a wider culture change in the sector, a change that sees individual boards of trustees gain renewed confidence in their own abilities and judgement and which sees the sector as a whole taking greater responsibility for maintaining standards of governance, anticipating risk, and nipping problems in the bud."
To request a review, email firstname.lastname@example.org.