Charities: fraud and financial crime

Helps trustees and other charity managers identify fraud risks, recognise common types of fraudulent activity and prevent fraud occurring.

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Applies to England and Wales


Chapter 3: Fraud and financial crime


The charity sector in England and Wales is very large and diverse. With a total annual income of well over £69 billion it is not surprising that opportunities exist for fraud and other types of financial crime. The National Crime Agency estimates that individuals, the private sector and the charity sector lose billions of pounds each year to fraud.

Trustees have a duty to manage their charity’s resources responsibly and must ensure that its funds are properly protected, applied and accounted for.

Because of the range and diversity of charitable activity there is no single method of financial control that will be suitable for all charities and all situations; trustees should use their knowledge of their individual charities, and their judgement, to decide the best systems for them to adopt.

Chapter 3 of the commission’s compliance toolkit provides guidance to help trustees and other charity managers:

  • be aware of fraud-related risks their charity can face
  • recognise some of the most common types of fraudulent activity
  • devise ways to prevent fraud occurring
  • report fraud if it does occur
Published 3 April 2011