The UK charities bureau has a “big, dumb, stupid and incompetent” record, according to a new report.
The Charity Commission’s chief executive, Dr Rebecca Bannister, said it was “the worst possible thing” to do in her report into the agency.
It’s a failure of accountability which is the greatest threat to the charities profession, Dr Bannisters report said.
It includes:The report also highlighted the lack of a ‘social impact audit’ or audit committee to review and report on the performance of the charities watchdog.
The report concluded the charity watchdog “has an inherent risk of being underfunded and underperforming”, with “many charities are being funded and staffed at a level that is not competitive with the private sector”.
“The lack of an audit committee is deeply concerning, and the lack it exists is particularly concerning given the fact that the commission has a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the agencies performance.”
The report was launched following a parliamentary hearing into the charity regulator’s performance in 2016, when the watchdog was accused of not having an effective internal audit of its £1.6bn annual funding.
“The charity watchdog’s funding and performance have suffered, and it is essential that the Commission continues to review its work to ensure it is operating in the best interests of the sector and its customers,” the report said at the time.
“While the Commission has established a ‘taskforce’ to address the concerns of the public and independent stakeholders, it is currently failing to deliver on the task.”
The watchdog has since been renamed the Department for Charity, and has been tasked with reviewing and improving the organisation’s performance, but is still struggling to make the most of its funds.
“As we work to improve the organisation, it will be essential that we have a good audit of the Agency, and a dedicated oversight committee, which is a vital and vital component of any independent audit of a charitable organisation,” Dr Binns report said, adding that the agency was “committed to its own review process”.
Dr Banns report also called for the Charity Commission to create a ‘new accountability and oversight structure’ for the charity industry, and said the Commission’s performance and audit were “at their lowest ebb in recent years”.
The Charity Commissioner’s Office is currently under a Government-wide review to find new funding sources.