The Charity Commission has a statutory objective to ensure trustees comply with their legal obligations in managing charities and to promote public trust and confidence in charities more generally. We also have a statutory function to identify and investigate abuse and mismanagement in charities. We do this in a number of ways through our regulatory work:
All regulatory concerns are referred to our First Contact area which applies the Risk Framework to decide whether it is a matter for the Commission. When a concern comes to our attention, First Contact considers the seriousness and extent of the risk involved and how the charity is dealing with it. First Contact refers issues of the most serious concern for a pre-investigation assessment. This examines in greater detail the causes of concern that appear to be the most serious and may meet the threshold for inquiry by applying the Risk Framework criteria. This involves examining all allegations and causes for concern to:
- determine the level of risk
- decide whether a statutory inquiry should be opened
- indicate the type of intervention required if a statutory inquiry is not appropriate
Most problems in charities can be resolved by the charity trustees themselves. Others will be examined and resolved by the Commission without the need to open an investigation. However, in the most serious cases we may need formally to investigate matters further. This section explains the circumstances in which we may open an inquiry and what happens when we do so.
To regulate a diverse sector as effectively as possible we have built effective strategic and operational relationships with a range of other regulators, law enforcement and other government departments. Whilst we vigorously protect our independence, effective collaboration and joined up working is essential to effective regulation.
Regulatory oversight is one way in which we investigate concerns about abuse and non-compliance in the sector. Our regulatory supervision and monitoring work includes appropriate and targeted scrutiny of accounts and ensuring actions trustees have promised to carry out to deal with problems have been completed.
An important part of our role is to help charities protect themselves by raising awareness of the risks to the sector and compliance requirements, and by providing targeted advice, guidance and support.