Charity regulator makes robust use of new enforcement powers

The Charity Commission has used new legal powers on over 130 occasions since they were introduced in the Charities Act 2016. The 2016 Act provided a range of new enforcement powers to the regulator, including the power to disqualify individuals from charity trusteeship, and to issue Official Warnings to a charity or an individual trustee.

A report published today shows that, in total, the Commission has used new powers on 137 occasions; this has included disqualifying 21 and suspending 7 individuals from trusteeship, and removing 12 individuals as a trustee during an inquiry.

The Commission has also issued 6 Official Warnings since the power became available to it in November 2016, and issued 14 notifications of its intention to issue an Official Warning. Among the charities that have been issued with an Official Warning is the RSPCA, which received an OW in August 2018.

On 17 occasions, the Commission issued a direction requiring that charity property be applied in the interests the charity.

The information is included in the latest annual review of the Commission’s compliance case work, Dealing with wrongdoing and harm 2017-18. The report covers the first full financial year during which the Commission has been able to use new legal powers introduced in the Charities Act 2016.

The regulator published a new strategy in October last year, which sets out a new purpose and five strategic priorities for the regulator, one of which is Dealing with wrongdoing and harm.

In her foreword to the report, the Commission’s chief executive Helen Stephenson makes clear that responsibility for the reputation of charity is one the regulator shares with those whom it regulates and urges all trustees to recognise their role as the first line of defence against wrongdoing and harm, and the ambitions of the Commission to do more to support them.

Read the full article here.

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