Northern Irish regulator is running seven serious inquiries into mismanagement

Tom McGrath, the chief charity commissioner, says the concerns cover a wide range of issues, from potential conflicts of interest to fundraising

Tom McGrath
Tom McGrath

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is carrying out seven serious inquiries into allegations of mismanagement within charities.

The commission yesterday published a report called Key Lessons in Charity Governance, which reveals the regulator has received nearly 200 complaints since it first began investigating charities in February 2011.

A spokeswoman for the commission said it was currently carrying out seven serious inquiries.

Aubrey McCrory, the commission’s head of compliance and corporate services, said that most concerns raised with the commission could be solved by the charity trustees themselves, but the commission was "conducting a number of more serious investigations that relate to allegations of mismanagement within charities".

The commission gained statutory powers to identify and investigate alleged misconduct and mismanagement in charities in February 2011. It received 117 complaints by the end of March 2012 and a further 78 between 1 April 2012 and 31 May 2013.

Sixty-four of the complaints made between 1 April and 31 May came from the public, eight were internally generated or received from statutory agencies and six were submitted anonymously, the report says.

At present the commission has the power to investigate only about 6,500 charities that have been granted charitable tax status by HM Revenue & Customs and are on a deemed list. Once the commission begins to register charities later this year, the number of organisations it can investigate will increase, until it will be able to investigate any charity operating in Northern Ireland.

Tom McGrath, the chief charity commissioner, said the concerns investigated by the commission covered a wide range of areas, "from possible conflicts of interest and ensuring transparency in the decision-making process to queries about membership, fundraising and how to close a charity".

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