The Charity Commission has become "much tougher" with charities that fail to file their annual accounts on time, according to Michelle Russell, its head of investigations and enforcement.
At the regulator’s public meeting in Newcastle on Tuesday, Russell was asked whether the regulator stepped in when charities failed to return their annual accounts on time.
"We are much tougher than we have been in previous years in terms of following up non-compliance," she said. "We give the trustees a chance to rectify the problem, but if it is not rectified we take enforcement action and we will use it as evidence that the charity no longer exists."
Russell said there were often legitimate reasons why a charity had failed to file its accounts or was late in doing so.
"But there’s a real spectrum," she said. "There are those where there’s actual non-compliance – we have an enforcement team that deals with getting those. So we are getting there; it’s not a matter of ignoring it."
Russell said that in cases where a charity that was late filing its accounts was under investigation by the commission for other reasons, the fact that the accounts were late would be added to the investigation.