Complaints to the Independent Complaints Reviewer about the Charity Commission rise by a third

Jodi Berg says increase is due to difference between expectations and the commission's approach

The number of new complaints made to the Independent Complaints Reviewer about Charity Commission services increased by approximately a third on last year, according to the ICR's annual report.

Jodi Berg said she received 20 new complaints for the year 2009/10, compared with 14 the year before. However, only seven of these were accepted for investigation, the same as in 2008/09.

The report says that during the year Berg settled 10 complaints, which raised a total of 40 individual issues. Three of these issues were upheld and one was partially upheld. The other 36 were not upheld. In 2008/09, Berg upheld seven and partially upheld four out of 48 individual issues raised from 14 settled complaints.

Berg said the increase in the number of new complaints was the result of a difference between customer expectations and the commission’s approach to regulation.

"As the commission’s approach becomes more risk-based and proportionate, people are often disappointed that its regulatory action does not go as far as they had hoped or expected," she told Third Sector. "This can cause an increasing number of complaints to flow through the system."

Berg added that the increase was partly due to that fact that some complaints were made to the ICR before the commission had given a final response - and this was because there was some customer confusion surrounding internal procedures, and that the ICR was unable to accept such referrals.

The report says the commission is developing a range of online guidance materials to set out the options for complainants clearly and explain how complaint cases progress. 

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