The Charity Commission has today named further charities subject to statutory inquiry, following a development in its policy on announcing the opening of investigations.
The regulator now publishes a statement about the opening of an investigation as a matter of course, on the basis that it is in the public interest to do so, unless there are special circumstances. The move comes in response to increased public interest in information about charities under investigation and in a move to increase transparency. In the past, the Commission’s default position was not to make public an inquiry, unless there were specific public interest arguments for doing so.
The changed approach comes ahead of the launch of a new and improved online charity search tool, expected this summer, which will flag those charities which the regulator has publicly announced it is investigating.
As part of the new approach, the Commission has reviewed the charities currently subject to statutory inquiry and has concluded that it is in the public interest to disclose the names of a further 13 charities under investigation.
The charities named today are:
The Commission says that there will continue to be inquiries that it is not in the public interest to make public at any given time. For example, this will apply to cases where an announcement might prejudice legal proceedings or the effective outcome of the regulator’s own investigations, or where for other reasons the Commission deems it is not in the public interest to make an inquiry public.
The Commission stresses that the purpose of inquiries is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so it can see if there has been mismanagement or there are risks to the charity’s property or to public trust and confidence in charities such that it needs to use its legal powers.
Michelle Russell, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said:
Charities operate for the benefit of the public and are accountable to the public for their work and activities. Our regulatory role includes increasing public trust and confidence in charities and over the past 18 months, we have been opening an increasing number of inquiries. In 2013-14, we opened 64 inquiries, compared to 15 the previous year.
This changed approach emphasises our commitment to being a transparent regulator that serves the public, including by helping people make informed decisions about which charities to support.
However, it is important for the public to understand that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrong doing.
It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are available on its website.
Notes to Editors
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
- charities know what they have to do
- the public know what charities do
- charities are held to account
- The Charity Commission policy on publishing the names of charities under statutory inquiry can be read in full on its website.