Clients of firms such as company secretarial specialists, London Registrars, who demand the highest standards of company compliance, will be interested to read that in the period from April 2012 to April 2013, fraud and financial abuse were particularly frequent problems in the charities sector.

Charities in England and Wales are subject to regulation by the Charity Commission; an independent regulator with a number of statutory powers. Its role is to hold charities to account in order to maintain public confidence in the sector.

The Commission’s annual investigatory and compliance report, Tackling abuse and mismanagement, found that financial abuse, financial mismanagement and fraud accounted for 23 of the 29 most serious investigations undertaken by the Commission during this period. Concerns about financial misconduct also accounted for a third of the 971 serious incidents that charities reported to the regulator, as well as 43 of the 98 whistleblowing incidents.

Commission Chief Executive, Sam Younger commented: “Those serious cases must be a top priority for us as regulator, as they are most damaging to the public trust and confidence on which all charities rely”.

He admitted that it would be necessary for the Commission to adopt “a tougher approach to non-compliance in charities” and use its statutory powers to gather information more routinely if at-risk charity funds are to be protected.

This course of action, he said would also “ensure we are better able to identify and deal with individuals who negligently or deliberately abuse charities, making them accountable to the regulator and in turn the public for their wrong doing”. A more rigorous attitude will be welcomed by all who take an interest in charity and company compliance.