Charity sector bodies join up to tackle fraud

1st June 2012

A number of charity sector bodies including Charity Finance Group, Charity Commission and NCVO have joined together with the National Fraud Authority (NFA), Fraud Advisory Panel and other public sector and law enforcement organisations to produce a guide to help charities prevent, detect and report fraud. Charity Fraud: A guide for the trustees and managers of charities, will be launched, along with tailored guidance for donors produced by the Fraud Advisory Panel at an event today.

The charity fraud guide is one of the outputs of the Charity Fraud Project which unites the charity sector with the aim of reducing fraud in charities. The NFA’s Annual Fraud Indicator found that charities estimate they lose 1.7% of their annual income to fraud – equal to around £1.1 billion of the sector’s income.

Caron Bradshaw,CEO, CFG commented: “Many charities are alert to the dangers of fraud and are extremely effective in protecting themselves against it. However, as the figures in the AFI indicate, there is always room for improvement. There is no silver bullet that can protect against all fraud, however charities can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim by ensuring there are robust financial controls, staff and volunteers are aware of the risks and there are clear anti-fraud procedures in place.

“There is a wealth of valuable guidance available for charities on preventing and responding to fraud, however the sheer volume of information available can be daunting. Similarly we have heard from charities that there is often conflicting messaging and confusion around when and where fraud should be reported to. We are therefore really pleased to be joining up with 14 other like-minded organisations to provide clarity by producing this guide.”

The Charity Fraud publication has been written by the sector, for the sector, and pulls together information from various sources to produce an accessible, easy to read guide for charities. A shorter summary document will also be available.

Sam Younger, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said; "This charity sector-led approach is a really important step towards ensuring every charity trustee board makes tackling fraud a priority. We hope that this new guidance will help trustees take real steps to minimise the risks posed to their charities, and in turn protect both the sector and the public's trust in it.

“By cooperating with charity sector bodies and other government agencies, the Commission's aim is to detect, deter and disrupt fraud in charities, focussing on preventing problems from occurring in the first place by alerting charities to the risks of fraud and financial crime, and by providing online guidance to help them to manage these risks. Charities don’t need to be a soft target for criminals if trustees put robust checks and balances in place."

Stephen Harrison, CEO, National Fraud Authority, said: “Charities are under an obligation to maintain public trust in order to raise the money they need to carry out vital work. Fraud can easily undermine this trust and jeopardise charities’ funding streams. It is therefore essential that they continue to do all they can to protect themselves from fraud. Additionally, donors need to be able to give money safe in the knowledge that it will go to their intended charity. The NFA is pleased to support the promotion of the fraud guidance for charities and for the public on how to donate safely. Together they consolidate best practice across the sector and enable charities and public to prevent fraud.”

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

1. CFG is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector. With more than 1,700 members, managing over £19bn, we are uniquely placed to challenge regulation which threatens the effective use of charity funds. Our training and development programmes enable finance managers to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management that their charities need. For more information, please see www.cfg.org.uk

2. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of the 180,000 charities in England and Wales. Our Vision is 'Charities you can support with confidence', and our mission is to act in the public's interest to ensure that charities know what they have to do, the public know what charities do and charities are held to account. The Commission chairs the Charity Fraud Project and has recently produced its Strategy on tackling Fraud and Financial Crime, which can be found on its website at www.charitycommission.gov.uk

3. Charity Fraud: A guide for the trustees and managers of charities has been produced by 15 public, law enforcement and charity sector organsations as part of the Charity Fraud Project. These are: ACEVO, ACF, ACRE, Charity Commission, Charity Finance Group, City of London Police, Community Matters, Fraud Advisory Panel, HMRC, ICAEW, Institute of Fundraising, National Fraud Authority, NCVO, Small Charities Coalition and Charity Trustee Networks and SOCA.

4. Fighting Fraud Together (FFT) is a partnership between the public, government, law enforcement, the wider public sector, private sector organisations and the voluntary sector. Under the remit of FFT the National Fraud Authority (NFA) and Charity Commission have instigated the Charity Fraud Project, a strategy aimed at reducing fraud within the charity sector. Charity Fraud: A guide for the trustees and managers of charities is one of the outputs of that project and was co-ordinated by Charity Finance Group.

5. This guide will be launched at a breakfast event at Lloyds TSB at 8:30am on Friday 1 June 2012, along with Giving Safely: A guide to making sure your charitable donations really count, a guide for donors produced by the Fraud Advisory Panel. Both guides will be available on the CFG website: http://www.cfg.org.uk/resources/Publications/cfg-publications.aspx.

The twitter hashtag for this event and publications is #charityfraud

6. For further information, please contact Melora Jezierska, policy and public affairs officer, CFG at melora.jezierska@cfg.org.uk or on 0207 250 8348.

7. The Charity Fraud publication has been kindly sponsored by Lloyds TSB.

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