The Charity Commission has highlighted concerns over the level of fraud and mismanagement in the charity sector.
Trustees have overall responsibility for governance and for safeguarding the charity’s assets. Trustees should therefore be alert to fraud, understand what it is and how it may affect the organisation.
Charity trustees have well known duties of stewardship, which means ensuring that resources are used for charitable purposes and are not put at risk unnecessarily. There is also, of course, a duty to use them effectively. Three areas to consider are:
Remember the case of the Bank of England investing in the payday lender Wonga? Charities might be encouraged to consider an ethical investment policy, so investments don’t compromise the aims of their charity.
Consider a charity which delivers services that are funded through a blend of contracts and grant income. To comply with the Charity Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), the year end accounts need to recognise income from service contracts to the extent that the service had been delivered, whereas grant income would generally be recognised at the point that the grant was receivable.
HMRC has published new Gift Aid Declarations for one-off donations, multiple donations and sponsored events.
Charities holding stocks of printed materials using the previous model declaration may continue to use these until 5 April 2016, after which the new Declaration must be used. Incorrect Declarations may result in Gift Aid claims being invalid.
The Chancellor delivered a number of announcements in Budget 2015, but what impact do these have for the third sector?
Whilst the economy appears to be getting stronger, it is clear that pressure on budgets will continue, and that Council funded charities in particular will continue to face downward pressure on income.