Three new reports on partnership working between faith and local government.

Charity Commission is failing in its key roles, says National Audit Office

A damning report by the government's spending watchdog raises serious concerns about the regulator's effectiveness in dealing with regulatory cases and abuse of charitable status

The Charity Commission is failing to regulate charities effectively and is not providing value for money, the National Audit Office has concluded.

In a highly critical report into the work of the commission, published today, the government’s spending watchdog says that the regulator does not do enough to deal with abuse of charitable status, fails to take tough enough action where there are serious regulatory cases involving charities and can be slow to act when investigating regulatory concerns.

This means that the commission is not meeting its statutory objective of increasing public trust and confidence in charities and is not delivering value for money, the report says.

The report, The Regulatory Effectiveness of the Charity Commission, says that the NAO found cases where the commission was slow to recognise the seriousness of the situation, gave trustees regulatory advice in serious cases rather than opening an inquiry and allowed a lack of cooperation by trustees to delay investigations for periods of more than a year.

It says that the NAO discovered statutory inquiries and operations cases "where periods of several months passed during which the commission took no action".

This was sometimes explained by external factors, such as waiting for another body to act or litigation, but "reduced staff numbers and a lack of prompt action were also significant factors in some cases".

The report says that the commission is reactive rather than proactive and makes insufficient use of the information it holds to identify risk. Almost all of the commission’s investigations are prompted by concerns from external sources rather than by its own data analysis, it says.

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