The risk of fraud is not unique to charities, but the nature of the relationship which charities have with the public makes the prevention and detection of fraud particularly important.
Charity trustees are responsible for the prevention and detection of fraud within their charity. Understanding where a charity may be vulnerable to fraud must be an integral part of any charity's risk management approach and trustees must be satisfied that they have controls in place to manage these risks.
The Developing Governance Group has developed a useful Code of Good Governance which includes information on trustees' duties, responsibilities and obligations. The guide includes information for charity trustees on "internal controls" and "prudence".
Reporting suspected or actual fraud and other matters of material significance
The Commission has a critical role to play in the prevention and targeting of action in relation to fraud. Actual or suspected charity fraud should be reported to us. Fraud is a criminal matter.
If you are a member of the public, charity staff or a charity trustee you can report suspected fraud to us by using our confidential concerns form.
For further information on how to submit a concern to us please read the How and when to submit a concern to us information. You can also contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in relation to the matter.
If you are an auditor, reporting accountant or independent examiner you have a statutory duty to report matters of material significance to us.
The Commission's powers in relation to fraud
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has the power to identify and investigate apparent misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of local charities, including suspected fraud.
The Commission's powers extend to those organisations that have been granted charitable tax exemptions by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). A list of these organisations, termed the "deemed list" is available on our website.
We need to know where there is a serious risk of significant harm to or abuse of a charity, its assets, beneficiaries or reputation. Suspected charity fraud is certainly something we should know about.
For more information on the issue you can contact us.