“We are determined that the activities of charities occur as transparently as though they are working behind a pane of glass,” – Charities Regulator CEO John Farrelly
The details of 8,003 organisations were published on the Charities Register at the end of 2016 as the Charities Regulator made progress during its first full year of operation towards building greater transparency among charities.
Some 314 charities were removed from the Charities Register last year, while 84 newly registered charities were added, bringing the number of registered charities to 8,003, according to the Charities Regulator’s Annual Report, published today.
The report shows that the number of fully compliant charities registered (ie filing up to date annual reports and accounts) rose from 866 at the end of 2015 to 4,410 by the end of 2016. “We have to recognise this increase of over 500% in compliance is a significant improvement,” Charities Regulator CEO John Farrelly said. “We plan to continue to work with charites to ensure there is absolute transparency.”
Among those organisations removed from the register during 2016 was Console Suicide Bereavement Counselling Ltd which went into liquidation in July 2016. The previous month the Charities Regulator had authorised the charity to issue High Court proceedings against named defendants and to apply for various orders including injunctions to protect the charity.
The Charities Regulator commenced legal action during 2016 against the operator of an unregistered “charity shop” in Sligo, culminating in its first successful prosecution under the Charities Act.
During the year the Charities Regulator received 317 concerns from the public, relating to 135 charities. The most common concerns related to financial management (38%), organisations not being a bona fide charity (24%) and governance issues (20%).
“As a Regulator we are determined that the activities of charities occur as transparently as though they are working behind a pane of glass,” Mr Farrelly said. “We intend to implement the law so that the public can easily see and understand how each individual charity operates. This approach will protect good people doing good work in the public interest and ensure that charitable activity continues to flourish.”
In September the Charities Regulator received investigative and protective powers, when Part Four of the Charities Act 2009 was enacted. The new powers would ensure the Charities Regulator could intervene where charities were not well managed, Mr Farrelly said. These powers include the capability to impose sanctions if a charity breaches certain obligations such as the requirement to keep proper accounts or to submit its annual report.
It was a busy year for the organisation, with almost 31,000 queries from, and contacts with, the public during the period.
“The Charities Regulator made progress in a number of key areas during the year, which will provide the foundations to enable the better regulation and protection of charities in the years ahead,” Mr Farrelly said. During the year the Charities Regulator published its first strategic plan, and initiated a statutory consultation panel on fundraising which is expected to result in fundraising guidelines being published for charities during 2017.
The Charities Regulator’s annual report 2016 can be read on its website.
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NOTES TO THE EDITOR
- The Charities Regulator is an independent statutory authority, established on 16 October 2014 under the Charities Act, 2009. The key functions of the Regulator are to increase public trust and confidence in the management and administration of charities, ensure the accountability of charitable organisations to donors, beneficiaries and the public, establish and maintain a public register of charitable organisations operating in Ireland, and ensure their compliance with the Charities Acts.
- The full list of registered Irish charities can be accessed online.
- To report a concern about a charity, please visit our concerns page.