November Not for Profit sector update
Protect your charity from fraud – revised guidance by Charity Commission
The Charity Commission has updated its guidance on how to protect your charity from fraud. Estimates of the scale of charity fraud in recent years vary between £150 million and £2 billion per year which highlights the importance of fraud awareness.
The Charity Commission advises that any fraud, whether successful or just attempted, should be reported to Action Fraud immediately. More serious fraud incidents should be reported directly to the Charity Commission.
As part of the update for fraud protection, the Charity Commission has included templates for anti fraud policies and fraud investigation plans. The other key issue is the prevalence of cyber fraud, which now accounts for approximately 70% of all fraud.
The Cyber Aware website has a questionnaire for assessing how good is your charity’s cyber security. Our cyber security diagnostic tool, Rizikon and initial free questionnaire, can also assist charities, and we would certainly encourage all to take this matter very seriously.
Charity Commission Chair – pressure on charity finance
At Civil Society’s annual Charity Finance Summit in late October, William Shawcross – the outgoing chair of the Charity Commission – spoke about the challenges facing the charity sector. According to William Shawcross the main problem facing charities is a reduction in finance, particularly for charities relying on government grants for income.
After describing the pressure on finances as the biggest problem on the charity sector, William Shawcross discusses the risk of high senior executive pay alienating potential donors and the importance of effective governance. This is an illuminating insight into the Commission’s regulatory concerns.
Updated Code of Fundraising Practice
The Fundraising Regulator has made several changes to their Code of Fundraising Practice in relation to static collection boxes. The revised sections can be found on the Fundraising Regulator’s website.
The changes were made in response to concerns about data protection issues with regards to volunteers’ personal details and place a greater onus of responsibility on the organisers of static collection boxes.
New guidance on financial sanctions
The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has published new guidance to help ensure compliance with financial sanctions. The move was prompted by requests, particularly from smaller charities, asking for clearer information on issues affecting the sector.
The guidance clarifies what activities are allowed under an OFSI license and how to apply. It also promotes sources of information and advice available to charities.
Government grants register
The government cabinet office has published a register with details of over £100bn of government grants in an effort to increase transparency and accountability.
The publication follows the release of a new data system, the Government Grants Information System (GGIS) which collects information about government grant funding. GGIS was released partially as a response to the collapse of Kids Company which had received government funding.
Charity register statistics
In late October the Charity Commission updated its charity register statistics to include data for charities with a year end date of 30 September 2017. This latest data shows that number of charities has increased to almost 167.5k with annual income at almost £74.5 billion.
For more information, please contact Sudhir Singh, Partner and Head of our Not for Profit sector.