Advertisement Howard Lake | 6 February 2014 | News AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis DSC criticises Public Accounts Committee’s report on Charity Commission The Public Accounts Committee has again attacked the “feeble” performance of the Charity Commission, claiming that it is “not fit for purpose”.The Committee’s report follows the National Audit Office’s report in December 2013 which criticised the Commission’s work and stated that it was not regulating charities effectively.[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]”That’s the utter failure of the Government to value the function they provide to the public and charities.”[/quote]The Directory of Social Change has criticised both reports. Of the NAO report, it argued that it focused too narrowly on the Commission’s enforcement duties rather than its broader duties.Of this week’s PAC report, Jay Kennedy, Director of Policy and Research at DSC, said that he accepted that the Commission needed to improve in some areas and was taking action to do so.But the regulatory body was finding this “increasingly difficult by the fact that its budget has been halved.” He added: “That’s not its fault – that’s the utter failure of the Government to value the function they provide to the public and charities.”He criticised politicians as “totally irresponsible” for using “brickbat statements” like ‘not fit for purpose’. He pointed out the importance of the wider role of the Charity Commission.“The charitable sector”, he said, “depends on its regulator not just to take action against wrongdoing, but to enable charities to get things right in the first place – this is especially true for small charities, which represent the majority of the sector. These kinds of attacks won’t help the Commission to regulate better – quite the opposite. They simply demoralise staff and provide cheap soundbites that will be recycled ad nauseam in the press and political debate over coming months, forcing the Commission to spend more on its PR apparatus to defend itself.”[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Politicians seem to be pushing the Commission to focus purely towards a ‘bad-cop’ enforcement role above all else”[/quote]He added: “We’re also deeply concerned that politicians seem to be pushing the Commission to focus purely towards a ‘bad-cop’ enforcement role above all else. Charities, their trustees and the wider public still need the Commission to enable a simple registration process, maintain the public register and provide accurate and publicly available guidance. In fact, it is impossible to adequately regulate such a vast and diverse sector without these functions. To presume that enforcement alone can achieve ‘effective regulation’ is pure fantasy. In fact, it’s also a false economy.”He was also dismissive of the Charity Commission’s leadership’s focus on seeking funding to help it fight terrorism. This week Charity Commission Chair William Shawcross announced that he would be lobbying the Treasury for more funding for this.Kennedy commented: ‘This is an almost microscopic issue in the charitable sector. There is little evidence of any widespread problem. Yet currently the Commission’s leadership seems to be prioritising it above all else. It is the Commission’s job to maintain public trust and confidence in charities but their masters ought to be wary of unintended consequences.”Other criticisms of PAC report[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]”Worryingly, this approach may create a damaging impression of how well charities are run in the public mind.”[/quote]Other sector bodies have questioned both the style and conclusions of the PAC’s report.Joe Irvin, Chief Executive of NAVCA, said:“I hope the emphasis is now on supporting the Commission rather than ‘kicking it when it’s down’. Replacing the Commission would be expensive and disruptive. Charities need a strong and supportive regulator so if the Commission cannot reform itself then maybe a wider task force is called for.”Caron Bradshaw, Chief Executive of Charity Finance Group, said:“While there are certainly areas of the Commission’s work that need urgent improvement, such as how it registers and investigates charities, it’s too easy to make sweeping criticisms and declare wholesale failure. Worryingly, this approach may create a damaging impression of how well charities are run in the public mind and ultimately push the Commission in an unhelpful direction.” 59 total views, 2 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Tagged with: Charity Commission Directory of Social Change Law / policy About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.