Trustees in Wales give themselves vote of confidence in Charity Commission survey

Governance survey reveals majority of trustees think they perform "extremely well or very well"; Harry Iles of the commission says he hopes it will put governance on the agenda

Harry Iles
Harry Iles

A survey carried out in response to concerns about governance practices in Wales has found that 90 per cent of trustees believe they are managing their charities well.

The Charity Commission ran the study after Swansea-based All Wales Ethnic Minority Association lost its charity status and funding after an investigation by the Welsh assembly found "fundamental failures" in its control and governance. And in December 2011, the head of Plas Madoc Communities First, a project set up to help people on the deprived Wrexham estate, was jailed for stealing £51,000 from the charity.

In the first survey of its kind, the regulator asked the 1,100 charities in Wales with incomes of more than £100,000 a year to take part in a detailed review of their governance and report on their findings. More than 500 charities responded.

The survey showed that almost 90 per cent of trustees say they perform "extremely well" or "very well". Ninety-four per cent of trustees feel they behave with integrity and 93 per cent feel they act in a way that is open and accountable.

The commission, however, warns it is likely that the non-responders to the study include charities that "are less confident about their standards of governance".

The report, Making the Grade: charity governance in Wales, is part of a wider good governance initiative launched this year by the commission in Wales.

Issues arising from the study include the need to attract younger people and people from more diverse backgrounds to trustee boards. Another issue is the need for better normalised procedures for complaints and whistle-blowing. 

In a statement, Harry Iles, head of the Charity Commission’s office in Wales, said: "While we recognise that this survey represents a relatively small snapshot of attitudes, we hope it will encourage more charities to think about their governance."

There are almost 8,000 registered charities in Wales.

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