The Charity Commission is offering 25 charities a free strategy review from a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales as part of an information-gathering project.
The commission said its new strategy development project, launched jointly with ICAEW, was part of a wider review programme designed to improve its understanding of the challenges facing charities.
A spokeswoman for the commission said the free reviews, open to 25 charities with annual incomes of less than £5m, would look at the charities’ management, covering issues such as trustees’ approach to their duties and the charity’s strategy.
"Specific questions we hope the reviews will answer include how trustees distinguish between strategic and day-to-day decision-making and whether they seek advice from outside the board and the senior management team, how trustees manage adverse reactions from stakeholders to strategic decisions and how trustees’ duty of prudence is reflected in their strategic thinking," she said.
Successful charities will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis by the ICAEW. Entries will close on 31 July, if the 25 slots have not been filled before.
Reviewers will use a range of sources to compile their reports, including interviews, the charity’s governing document, accounts and strategic documents, such as the business plan, she said.
The ICAEW will collate the reviews’ findings and submit a report to the commission that does not identify the charities. The commission will use the information to inform its regulatory approach and identify gaps in support for charities.
Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: "Our case work shows that poor strategic planning can put charities at risk of serious regulatory problems. This project will give us insight into trustees’ understanding of strategy. I am confident that this will help us and the sector to provide appropriate support and advice."
The ICAEW had previously worked with the commission on a joint review project looking at financial controls and fraud awareness in charities. Following the project the commission said it would revise its anti-fraud guidance.
Another joint project, administered by ICSA, examined governance in newly registered charities.
Charities and ICAEW members interested in volunteering for the project should visit the ICAEW website.