House of Lords
Baroness Verma (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the commission's chief executive to reply.
I have been asked to reply to your Written Parliamentary Question on what percentage of charities are scrutinised by the Charity Commission on average each year [HL497).
At the broadest level, the online Register of Charities allows the public to scrutinise all registered charities; for example, to see which charities have filed their information promptly and which are overdue. The commission encourages anyone who is interested in or wishes to support a charity to use this publicly available resource: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Show Charity/RegisterOfCharities/RegisterHomePage.aspx.
The majority of the 162,000 charities on the register have to send us information which is checked automatically at the point of entry. Commission staff will examine other potential errors or anomalies in the financial information provided and refer to the charity's accounts as necessary. We also carry out spot-checks to ensure there is consistency between a charity's accounts and annual returns.
Our next level of engagement with charities comes at the level of operational casework, where we examine concerns about charities and provide legal consents where our permission is required. Through this type of activity, we directly regulated an average of approximately £28 billion worth of charitable income each year between 2007-08 and 2010-11. This represented 55% of the average total income of charities in England and Wales over the same period.
When things go wrong in a charity, or a group of charities, we identify and investigate abuse and mismanagement through a combination of monitoring, assessment and regulatory casework. In the most serious cases, where there is evidence or strong suspicion of serious misconduct or mismanagement in a charity, we may open a statutory inquiry.
Between 2007-08 and 2011-12, we completed a yearly average of 202 monitoring cases, 1,517 assessment cases, 135 regulatory cases and 21 statutory inquiries. The number of charities assessed and investigated in this way in any given year represents a small percentage of the total number of registered charities.