Charity Compliance 2015 and 2016 report

The ACNC has launched its Charity Compliance 2015 and 2016 report, which shows that the vast majority of registered charities are run by dedicated and honest people.

Bad behaviour by a small number of individuals, though, damages trust and confidence in the sector.

The ACNC investigates concerns and takes strong action where required.  In most cases, the commission is able to resolve issues by providing regulatory advice and guidance, suggesting that most charities are receptive when contacted.

Commissioner Pascoe said, ‘However, where we find serious misconduct and mismanagement, the ACNC will take firm action, including revocation of charity status.

‘Over the two-year period of the report, the ACNC revoked the status of 28 charities.  A further nine had their registrations revoked following a review of their entitlement to charity status.

‘Revocation is the most serious enforcement action taken by the ACNC and results in the loss of Commonwealth charity tax concessions.

‘We have published this report as we believe that there are many lessons registered charities can learn from compliance matters.  We also feel it’s important that we, as the charity national regulator, are transparent and accountable to the sector and the public and hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold charities to.

‘Our secrecy and privacy provisions limit the information that can be publicly released, however, we are able to release aggregated data and de-identified case studies to provide insights into the ACNC’s compliance work.  The case studies in particular give the sector and the public an insight into the kinds of issues we find when investigating concerns, and how we work with charities to resolve them.

‘We have also included lessons for other charities in the case studies so that they can use this information to improve their own organisation’s governance.’

The report also sets out the ACNC’s areas of focus for the next 12 months.

‘The ACNC will continue to investigate concerns that could significantly [affect] public trust and confidence in the not-for-profit sector,’ Ms Pascoe said.

‘Public trust and confidence is vital to the long-term sustainably of the sector, and we are hoping that by publishing this report, members of the public feel assured that there is a “cop on the beat”.

‘Similarly, we want to make charities aware of the common issues we have found over the past two years so they can self-assess their governance and process to ensure they are on the right track.

‘[We] will be focusing on five key areas of compliance: fraud and financial mismanagement; terrorism; harm to beneficiaries; political activities; and lodgement and accuracy of annual information statements.’

To read the full report visit acnc.gov.au/compliancereport.


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