Charity Commission’s financial situation is ‘unsustainable’, chair says

In response to a damning Public Accounts Committee report, William Shawcross says the regulator must be adequately funded if it is to meet the expectations placed on it

The chair of the Charity Commission has described the regulator’s financial situation as “simply unsustainable” in its response to the damning Public Accounts Committee report published in February.

William Shawcross, chair of the commission, said in a statement issued alongside the commission’s formal response to the PAC today: “If we are to fulfil all the expectations placed on us while at the same time increasing our serious case work, we must be adequately funded. Our current funding position is simply unsustainable.”

In February, the PAC accused the commission of lacking a coherent strategy and failing to possess the ability to adequately address its shortcomings. It made four recommendations: the commission should develop a clearer vision, use its powers more effectively, improve leadership and put into action a robust change-management plan to tackle its “enduring failings”.

In its response published today, the commission said it agreed with the first three PAC recommendations, but disagreed with the final recommendation. It said: “The commission rejects the charge that its record is one of ‘enduring failings’. It noted that since the PAC’s last scrutiny in 2002 there have been considerable changes not only in the commission’s statutory responsibilities, under the 2006 Act, but also in parliamentary and public expectations, as well as massive funding reductions in real terms.”

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