We have been working hard over the last few months to create the ACNC Governance Toolkit, a series of new, specialised resources to help charities manage the governance issues that may arise in four key risk areas:

  • financial abuse
  • working with partners
  • safeguarding and
  • cyber security.

We are now at the stage of the project where we can consult with the sector. We are keen to ensure that the toolkit will be a valuable resource for all, with a particular focus on smaller charities.

Charities are invited to complete a short survey and share their views: surveymonkey.com/r/ACNCComplianceToolkit

The survey will close Friday 8 March. All responses will be treated as sensitive and confidential, and used only for analytical purposes.

We are also conducting face-to-face sessions and telephone interviews. If you’d like to participate, you can express your interest by emailing your details to events@acnc.gov.au.

I look forward to sharing further updates on this project and other new resources in the coming months.

New research finds trust in charities is increasing

Last week, Edelman Australia launched the latest findings from the Edelman Trust Barometer – a global survey which aims to track changes in levels of trust the public have in institutions, including business, government, the media and non-government organisations.

Pro Bono Australia reported that trust in non-government organisations has increased from 48 per cent in 2018 to 56 per cent this year, moving it into a “trusting” status.

This research is great news for the sector, however public perception of charities can be unpredictable.

While the ACNC was established to maintain, protect and enhance public trust and confidence in the sector, measuring the level of trust in charities really is a matter for pollsters and researchers.

For this reason, the ACNC will no longer undertake our own survey of attitudes toward the sector. There is already great work being done across Australia and indeed the world, by those in a position to better quantify the levels of trust and the factors which are impacting trust in charities.

I believe it is more important to direct our resources toward our data collection capabilities, and continue to improve the ACNC Charity Register for all charities, donors and members of the public.

ACNC recognised in international Counter Fraud Awareness award

In some wonderful news from overseas, the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Fraud Advisory Panel have been awarded the 2019 Government Counter Fraud Award for Outstanding International Collaboration, for their work on Charity Fraud Awareness Week and the #CharityFraudOut campaign.

Held in October 2018, the UK’s Charity Fraud Awareness Week went global last year with input from regulators including the Office of Scottish Charity Regulation, the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, the US Federal Trade Commission and more.

The ACNC is pleased to have played a part in this important campaign, raising awareness of charity fraud and educating both charities and the general public on how to best protect themselves from fraudulent activity.

The ACNC’s Charity Fraud Awareness Week resources can be found on the ACNC website.

Latest edition of ACNC Quarterly now available

Last week, we published a new edition of ACNC Quarterly. The newsletter contains recent updates from the ACNC, including information about our IT changes, the extension to the 2018 Annual Information Statement for many charities and more.

The newsletter also discusses recent legislation changes which may impact registered charities, a new project to explore the elements referred to in the second Object of the ACNC Act and includes links to our latest education and guidance products.

You can read the newsletter now at acnc.gov.au/quarterly.

Charities will have received the newsletter direct to their listed Address for Service email late last week. If you didn’t receive it, you can update your charity’s Address for Service by logging into the new ACNC Charity Portal and selecting ‘manage other charity details’.

Report from Select Committee into Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century tabled in Parliament

In June 2018, the Senate established the Select Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century to inquire and report on the current framework of fundraising regulation for charities and options for reform. Late last week, the committee tabled a report of their findings in the Senate.

One of the two recommendations in the report was for the Australian Government to commit to working with state and territory governments and the not-for-profit sector to develop a consistent national model for regulating not-for-profit and charitable fundraising, within a timeframe of two years.

The complete report, including the committee’s findings and recommendations for reform, is available to download from the Australian Parliament House website.

Best wishes,

The Hon. Dr Gary Johns