Proportion of successful complaints against the regulator revealed

The Charity Commission upheld less than five per cent of all complaints made against it over the past three years, new figures show.

A response by the regulator to a request made under Freedom of Information legislation, which has been shared with Third Sector, revealed that 20 of 431 stage one and stage two complaints made against the Charity Commission for the 36 months to 15 October were upheld.

According to the complaints procedure guidance on the commissions website, a stage one complaint is handled someone at the regulator who has not been involved with the original case and will look fairly at it.

Where possible, they will be at a more senior level than the original case worker.

A stage two complaint is for people who are unhappy with the outcome of the first stage. They have one month to ask for the complaint to be reviewed by a member of the regulator’s records, information, governance and assurance team.

They examine how the first review was handled, any shortfalls in the regulator’s service, and whether it was thorough and fair.

A total of 309 complaints were made under stage one. Seventeen were upheld, 30 were partially upheld, and the rest were either not upheld or dismissed under “other case closure codes”.

Under stage two, a total of 122 complaints were made; just three were upheld, with nine partially upheld.

Responding to the request, Lucy Breakspere, information rights and compliance officer at the regulator, said: “I would also point out that the commission is currently reviewing its complaints process.”

The regulator said it published complaints figures each year in its annual report.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “While they are small in number when compared with the volumes of our interactions with charities and the public, we take complaints about the commission very seriously.

“We have in place a robust and independent system that ensures a fair response is given to all complainants.

“Where complaints are fully or partially upheld we work hard to ensure any lessons are learnt and fed into our processes, allowing us to continually improve.”

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