Charities must report anyone they suspect of involvement in financing terrorism, the Charity Commission has warned.
The commission said it made the warning, issued today, in an alert "following a small number of recent cases involving the loss of charitable assets (both goods and funds) to proscribed terrorist groups overseas".
The guidance, the regulator said, was to raise awareness of charities’ duties under section 19 of the Terrorism Act 2000. This requires anyone who, in the course of doing their job, discovers or suspects another person has committed a terrorism financing offence, to report this.
Anyone who fails to report knowledge of any terrorism financing activity could face a fine as well as up to five years in prison, the commission warned.
The advice was issued in collaboration with the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit and the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command.
Through its work, the commission had identified a lack of awareness of the reporting requirements in the sector, the alert said.
"The commission has identified through its work that knowledge and understanding is low among a number of charities – both large and small – in respect of the reporting requirement under section 19 of TACT," it said.
It added the reporting requirements also applied to unpaid workers, including trustees and volunteers.
The alert said: "The commission is alert to the risks charities and their staff face when working in unstable and dangerous countries and locations, and recognises the potential risk of loss to terrorist groups.
"It is for this reason that all charities working in areas where there is a risk of terrorism need to assess and manage the risks whilst always acting reasonably and in the best interests of their charity."
The alert was issued under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011, which allows the commission to give out advice or guidance it believes will lead to the better running of charities.