The Charity Commission opened 1,261 operational compliance cases in the year to March 2016, an 8.5 per cent increase on the year before, according to statistics published on Friday.
The regulator also released transparency data on its monitoring cases, revealing that it opened 414 over the same period, although figures from the previous year are not available.
Monitoring cases allow the commission to keep an eye on charities where there is cause for concern and might involve desk-based research, corresponding with or interviewing trustees, visiting the charity’s premises and inspecting its financial records.
Operational compliance cases are not formal investigations, but are aimed at ensuring trustees address any failures and weaknesses in management of their charities, according to the commission.
The most commonly probed charities were those with objects involving education and training: 761 were subject to operational cases in 2015/16 (roughly the same as in 2014/15) and 249 were examined through monitoring cases.
Similarly, charities whose beneficiaries were children and younger people were the largest single group for both operational cases (727) and monitoring cases (240).
Armed forces charities were the least likely to have cases about them opened, with only two monitoring cases started and 32 operational cases begun – this was an increase from 19 the previous year.
Charities with annual incomes of less than £25,000 were the largest group of charities to have been the subject of monitoring cases, with 120 opened.
But for operational compliance cases the largest group was those with incomes of more than £500,000 a year, with 438 opened, up more than a third from the 332 of the previous year.
Charities that had been open for a year or less were the least likely to be examined, with 36 subject to monitoring cases in 2015/16 and 28 subject to operational cases, down from 54 the year before. Charities that had been registered for more than a decade were the most likely to be examined, with 756 operational compliance cases (up from 658) and 175 monitoring cases.
Of the 320 charities with religious objects that were the subjects of operational compliance cases in 2015/16, 135 were Christian and 58 were Muslim, down from 143 and 77 respectively in 2014/15.
The commission opened 53 monitoring cases into Christian charities and 42 into Muslim charities in 2015/16.