How and when to report a concern to us

In February 2011, the Commission gained powers to investigate charities within Northern Ireland where a risk exists to its assets or beneficiaries. This allowed us to identify and investigate apparent misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of charities and take steps to protect charitable assets for the first time.

At present, our powers extend to the following organisations. 

  • Under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008: organisations that have registered with the Commission as charities.
  • Under transitional orders: organisations which had been granted charitable tax status by Her Majesty‚Äôs Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by 19 August 2013. These organisations number over 7,000 and are listed on what is called the "deemed list", which is published on our website here.

The number of charities which the Commission can investigate will continue to increase as more charities are registered by the the Commission following the beginning of registration on 16 December 2013.  This means that ultimately the Commission will have the authority to investigate complaints or allegations of mismanagement within any charity operating in Northern Ireland.

We carry out an initial assessment of each concern we receive about a charity in Northern Ireland. This allows us to determine the best route to take to rectify the situation, based on the seriousness of the concern and the risk involved.

However, the Commission is not able to get involved in all complaints about charities. You can find out more about the types of concerns we can look into using the links as set out below:

Guidance for trustees, employees and volunteers of a charity

We need to know about concerns that have resulted in or might result in a significant loss of funds or a significant risk to the charity's property, work, beneficiaries or reputation. This guidance explains when and how you need to tell us about these concerns and explains what our response may be.

Guidance for auditors and independent examiners

Auditors and independent examiners in Northern Ireland will have a statutory duty to report matters of material significance to charity regulators. This guidance, available soon, will set out which concerns you should report to us and explain how we will take action.

Guidance for the general public

Occasionally people have causes for concern about charities. In some cases this is a matter for us, but in other cases you should take the matter up with the charity itself or with another body. This guidance explains where we will and will not take action.

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