Charity Commission to revise anti-fraud guidance after review finds gaps in most charities' procedures

Sam Younger, chief executive of the commission, says it must raise trustees' awareness of the financial risks charities face

Sam Younger
Sam Younger

The Charity Commission is to revise and make it easier to access its anti-fraud guidance after a review found "significant gaps" in charities’ anti-fraud procedures and controls.

Over the past two years the commission has collaborated with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales on a governance review project that involved ICAEW members experienced in working on a voluntary basis with the boards of 25 charities with annual incomes of less than £5m.

The commission's response said the ICAEW’s final review showed that the charities surveyed generally had strong governance but were "weakest in fraud and financial abuse management", an area in which 18 of the 25 charities had "significant gaps in procedures and controls".

The review found there was "a need to raise awareness among smaller charities of risk and risk management" and that "trustees had gaps in their financial understanding and financial management skills".

In its response document, the commission said one problem was that charities were not accessing the guidance and advice that was already available. It said it would improve access to its own guidance and signpost guidance from other organisations.

The commission will also explore the possibility of producing a guide to the Statement of Recommended Practice, the rules that govern charity accounting, and specific guides for different charitable sub-sectors.

Sam Younger, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: "The ICAEW report provides an extremely useful glimpse into the issues charities face, and trustees should make sure they read it.

"The review tells us that one of our priorities has to be to raise trustees’ awareness of the financial risks charities face, and to signpost them to resources that can help them, particularly to avoid fraud."

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