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Charity regulator focuses on fraud

ACNC releases national report.

Charity compliance is on the top of the list for 2017.

In a report released on Wednesday the national charity regulator, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), 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 ACNC Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, said that the vast majority of registered charities are run by dedicated, honest people.

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

Pascoe said where they 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,” she said.

“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.”

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,” 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.”

Pascoe said going forward, the ACNC 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.

See report here.

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