Charity Commission plans peer-review service

Scheme will use sector professionals as consultants on the governance of other charities

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission will launch a peer-review service in which people in the sector assess other charities' governance, its chief executive, Sam Younger, told the Charity Finance Directors' Group annual conference in London yesterday.

Younger said sector professionals would assess the risks that a particular governance issue presented to other organisations and act as consultants with the aim of improving those charities' processes.

The professionals would also feed back information to the commission so that it could have a better understanding of the overall attitudes of the sector.

"We're currently talking to umbrella bodies about recruiting people for these jobs," he said. But he did not give any precise details about how the scheme would operate or when it would begin.

Younger also told the conference that a new Charity Commission strategy to investigate charities only if there was a "serious and systemic risk" would not put charity funds at risk.

He said he understood there were concerns about the commission's plan to carry out fewer investigations, but said: "If you're clever, you can still get to all the cases that prevent real risk."

Younger said the commission would generally aim to encourage trustees to become more self-reliant. "There will be less hand-holding by the commission," he said. "Trustees will have more freedom to take their own decisions."

More advice would be provided by umbrella bodies and professionals, he added.

Younger also told the conference he thought it worth looking at possible changes in the Charities Act 2006, which is due to be reviewed this year, that would make it possible for the commission to be stricter when registering charities.

He said respondents to the review supported a tougher stance on organisations wishing to register, but the commission currently had limited powers to prevent organisations registering.


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