More than half of those working in small charities have had no risk training

Workers were responding to a survey by the Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research

Six out of 10 people at small charities have never received risk or governance training, new research shows.

A survey of 330 charities with annual incomes of less than £500,000, conducted by the Suffolk Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Suffolk for the digital insurance broker PolicyBee, found that 62 per cent said they had never been given training to help them identify risks to their charities.

The most popular reason given for this was a lack of funding, cited by 57 per cent of respondents, followed by a lack of time and an inability to find appropriate training.

A report on the survey, called Under the Radar: Risk Management in Small Charities, says that one in 10 respondents said either their charity did not have any risk management measures in place or they did not know whether such measures existed.

Lack of time was the issue most respondents said was preventing them from putting such measures in place, cited by 64 per cent of participants, followed by a lack of funds.

Only 8 per cent of survey respondents said they had a risk register.

Dominique Fell-Clark, head of marketing at PolicyBee, said: "At a time when the charity sector as a whole is under increasing scrutiny, the lack of funding and resources among small charities is leading to shortfalls in risk management. This puts many in danger of sleepwalking into a governance and compliance crisis."

She said external advice could be difficult to access for some charities.
Almost half (47 per cent) of small charities said they were only partially confident in their capacity to identify and assess risk, and 54 per cent said they felt less than fully confident when it came to their ability to manage risk.

But of the risks the charities had identified, the most pressing was their ability to generate income streams over the next 12 months, cited by 74 per cent, while 70 per cent were concerned about the availability of grant funding and 62 per cent about their ability to recruit trustees and staff.

Olumide Adisa, principal investigator at the Suffolk Institute for Social & Economic Research, said: "This research has confirmed our suspicion that lack of funding and resources limit the ability of small charities to put suitable risk-management measures in place, demonstrating an urgent need to shore up support around risk management for these organisations."

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