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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-we-ensure-charities-meet-their-legal-requirements/where-we-investigate-charities
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. The commission also has a statutory function to identify and investigate abuse and mismanagement in charities.
1. How the commission assesses concerns
All regulatory concerns are referred to the commission’s First Contact area which applies the risk framework to decide whether it is a matter for the commission. When a concern comes to the commission’s 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
2. How the commission carries out investigations
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 it may need formally to investigate matters further.
Find out how the commission reports on its inquiries and regulatory casework, including where it makes statements about live cases.
3. How the commission works with other agencies, regulators and departments
To regulate a diverse sector as effectively as possible, the commission has built effective strategic and operational relationships with a range of other regulators, law enforcement and other government departments. Whilst the commission vigorously protects its independence, effective collaboration and joined up working is essential to effective regulation.
Find out how the commission works with other regulators, law enforcement and other government departments.
4. How the commission monitors charities
Regulatory oversight is one way in which the commission investigates concerns about abuse and non-compliance in the sector. Its 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.
5. The commission’s work to prevent abuse happening in the first place
An important part of the commission’s 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.
Read real case studies of the commission’s investigations in the last financial year.
6. Inquiries into charities
Charities must comply with the law. The commission deals with problems in charities in a number of ways depending on what the problem is, its severity, the evidence to support it, the impact it has and what is required to resolve it. Deliberate wrongdoing, illegal activity, criminality and serious abuse will be dealt with rigorously and decisively.