ACNC media release

 

No.201

14 March 2017

Charity regulator sets out focus for 2017 in latest report.

In a report released today the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), has set out its areas of focus for charity compliance in 2017.

In addition to fraud and terrorism, the ACNC will focus on financial mismanagement, harm to beneficiaries, and the political activities of Australia’s charities.

The new report, Charity Compliance 2015 and 2016, also discusses the ACNC’s compliance work over the last two years.

The ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe AM, said that the vast majority of registered charities are run by dedicated, honest people.

“Registered charities provide vital services and support to our communities,” Ms Pascoe said.

“As the ACNC matures in its role as the national charity regulator, we are increasingly finding that people running charities are keen to work with us to resolve any issues we find during investigations.

“In many cases, concerns raised can actually be resolved by providing regulatory guidance and advice.

“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 charity status of 28 charities. A further nine charities had their registration revoked following a review of their entitlement to charity status by our Registration team.

“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 publically released; however, we are able to release aggregated data and de-identified case studies to provide insights into the compliance work of the ACNC.

“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 impact on 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.

“Going forward, 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.”

2017 compliance focus areas:

The Charity Compliance 2015 and 2016 report is available at acnc.gov.au/compliancereport

ACNC Media Contact:

media@acnc.gov.au or 0466 089 108.

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