Audit finds charity watchdog unfit for dutiesDecember 10, 2013
The National Audit Office (NAO) has found that the U.K. Charity Commission, the entity responsible for monitoring British nonprofits, is grossly understaffed and is too passive in exposing malfeasance.
The Charity Commission has never done anything to crack down on Interpal and Muslim Aid—two British-based charities that have funded Hamas. The Charity Commission even went out of its way to discredit the allegations against Muslim Aid. The NAO’s findings cast the Charity Commission’s defense of such charities in a new and disturbing light.
This is probably one of the biggest stories pertaining to terrorist financing in Britain that has come out in several years. Scores of Islamic charities have established headquarters in the U.K., and have used favorable reviews by the Charity Commission as part of their fundraising appeals to send money overseas.
This isn’t just a story about regulatory ineptitude: it reveals a major global avenue for charitable fraud.
Charity cash could end up in the hands of terrorists: Watchdog ‘failing to tackle abuses’
- Critical report was compiled by the National Audit Office
- Reveals the Charity Commission has just two members of staff to monitor voluntary organisations with just 42 probes launched this year
- Labour MP Margaret Hodge warns commission is not ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘risks undermining public trust’ in charities
By Daniel Martin
3 December 2013
Money given to charity could be diverted to terrorists because a watchdog is not investigating abuses properly, a damning report has warned.
The Charity Commission monitors voluntary organisations over three areas of high risk: fraud, whether they safeguard beneficiaries, and counter-terrorism.
But it now has only two members of staff doing this work and just 42 probes were started last year, compared to 306 a year before the last election, increasing a ‘risk that serious concerns will go undetected’.
In a critical report, the National Audit Office spending watchdog said failings could damage public faith in good causes. The commission needs a ‘radical change of pace and rigour’, it said…
The NAO report also stated:
‘It [the Charity Commission] uses its information poorly to assess risk and often relies solely on trustees’ assurances.
‘Where it does identify concerns in charities, it makes little use of its powers and fails to take tough action in some of the most serious cases.
‘The commission is too passive in pursuing its objectives, letting practical and legal barriers prevent action, rather than considering alternative ways to prevent abuse of charitable status.’