The number of statutory inquiries opened by the Charity Commission fell by almost half in the year to March 2016 compared with the previous 12 months, data released by the regulator has revealed.
The commission opened 52 new inquiries in 2015/16, down from 96 the year before, a drop of 46 per cent, according to transparency data released today.
A spokesman for the regulator said the main reason for the fall was that it had opened fewer inquiries in 2015/16 into "double-defaulter" charities – that is, those that had failed to file their accounts on time for two years or more.
"The decrease was primarily due to fewer double-defaulter cases being opened, as well as more cases being dealt with as compliance cases, without opening inquiries," he said.
"We are also intervening earlier through proactive compliance and inspections visits, resulting in action plans that are then actively monitored."
The most commonly investigated charities were those with annual incomes of between £25,000 and £250,000, which made up 20 of those investigated, though 15 of these were double defaulters.
Those charities with objects including education were the most commonly investigated, with three-quarters (39) of investigated charities falling into this category, including 26 double defaulters. Charities dealing with animals were the least likely to be investigated: no inquiries into animal charities were opened at all.
Data published yesterday shows that operational compliance cases were up by 8.5 per cent on the same time period the year before.