Overthe last two years, the national charity regulator has received over 1,300 complaints against Australian charities a new report released today has found.
The report, Charity Compliance Report: December 2012 – December 2014 and Beyond, found that since the establishment of the charity regulator in December 2012, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) has received on average 12 complaints a week about charities.
The majority of these complaints were able to be resolved without proceeding to a formal investigation; however 521 complaints were assessed by the ACNC’s compliance team, of which 96 became the subject of a compliance investigation ACNC Commissioner Susan Pascoe AM said Australians donate billions of dollars every year and the ACNC seriously considers all concerns raised about charities.
“When a complaint is raised with the ACNC about a charity’s operations, we look into all of the relevant circumstances,” Ms Pascoe said.
“The report released today outlines the compliance work we have undertaken over the last two years.
“Overwhelmingly, the majority of charities wanted to do the right thing. In these cases, if something has gone wrong, we work with charities to provide education or guidance to get them back on track.
“However,where there is evidence of serious mismanagement or misappropriation, a serious, persistent or deliberate breach of the ACNC Act, or where vulnerable people or significant charitable assets are at risk, the ACNC will act firmly and quickly.
“We are committed to protecting public trust and confidence in charities.Effectiveregulation is critical in supporting and sustaining a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative charitable sector,” Ms Pascoe said.
The report also found:
Charities subject to ACNC compliance cases controlled over $100 million in charitable assets
Nine charities had their charity status revoked as a result of investigations
The majority of complaints (67%) came from the public, followed by other government agencies (18%)
26% concerns were about large charities – those with revenue greater than $1 million. However, large charities only make up 17% registered charities
26% concerns were made about public companies, even though they comprise only 12% registered charities
The most common complaints from the public were:
Charitable resources being used inappropriately
Possible financial mismanagement or fraud
Lack of transparency and accountability
Charities harming their beneficiaries
Sham charities and fundraising
The ACNC is prevented by secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act from disclosing the specific details of individual compliance cases.