In the Republic of Ireland, a recently published compliance report by the Charities Regulator lists a number of common issues that affect the ability of charity trustees to manage and control their charities. According to this report, issues identified which relate directly to trustee duties and responsibilities included:
- Charity trustees not aware of their legal duties and responsibilities;
- Charity trustees lack knowledge of the requirements and conditions in their charity’s governing document;
- Charity trustees not holding meetings/trustees not attending meetings;
- Charity trustees making decisions without documenting those decisions in formal Board minutes;
- Charity trustees making significant decisions without seeking out specialist advice;
- Charity trustees allowing one or a group of trustees to control the charity;
- Charity trustees not aware of their legal obligations to the Charities Regulator around:
- Making an annual return;
- Keeping their details up to date on the public Register of Charities;
- Disclosing suspected offences under the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.
Other themes to emerge among the common issues identified related to managing conflicts of interest, internal financial controls, transparency, fundraising, and unregistered charitable organisations. The report, published in August 2018, covers the Charities Regulator compliance activities in 2017.
In another recent report (April 2018) the Charity Commission regulator for England & Wales urged charities to foster a culture where staff, trustees and volunteers are reminded of the need to challenge any concerning behaviour and not turn a blind eye when internal processes aren’t followed.
According to this report, placing excessive trust in individuals and lack of internal challenge and oversight contributed to 70% of insider frauds in a sample of charities analysed by the Commission.
Previous analysis by the Commission found that a third of frauds committed at charities and reported to the Commission were suspected to have been committed by charity staff, trustees or volunteers.
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