Charities Regulator publishes Inspectors’ Report into the affairs of ChildFund Ireland
Findings include lack of sufficient board oversight of activities and finances
The Charities Regulator has today published an inspector’s report into ChildFund Ireland (Registered Charity Number 20032913) following an investigation into the affairs of the charity.
The Charities Regulator received concerns about ChildFund Ireland in late 2018 and early 2019. The Compliance and Enforcement Unit of the Regulator undertook preliminary inquiries and engaged with the charity’s Board of trustees. In April 2020, the decision was taken to appoint inspectors to carry out an investigation under Part 4 of the Charities Act 2009. The Charities Regulator received the inspector’s final report on 24 June 2021 and a decision to publish the report was taken pursuant to section 66(3)(c) of the Charities Act 2009.
“The relationship between a charity’s Board of trustees and its senior management team is a very important one, which is why working effectively is a key principle of the Charities Governance Code. As explained in the Code, in order to run a charity well you need capable charity trustees who work together as an effective team. Board meetings are especially important, as this is where charity trustees exercise their collective authority. The Inspectors’ Report highlights the difficulties that can arise for a charity where there is inadequate Board oversight and internal controls and associated policies and procedures are not appropriate or are not adhered to”, Ms Martin said. “As a regulator, we are keen to facilitate best practice in the governance, management and administration of charities. The Inspectors’ report contains points of learning for all charities and we would encourage anyone involved in a registered charity to read the full text of the report.”
“ChildFund Ireland was furnished with a copy of the Inspectors’ report and afforded the opportunity to provide an update on the matters referred to in the report. The Board of trustees of the charity provided an update to the Charities Regulator and have committed to addressing any governance issues that remain outstanding. ChildFund Ireland continues to engage with the Charities Regulator and as part of that engagement our Compliance and Enforcement Unit will follow up with the charity to ensure that any actions required to address matters referred to in the Inspectors’ report have been implemented,” Charities Regulator CEO Helen Martin said.
The report sets out a summary of factual findings which includes the following:
- Inadequate action taken by the Board of ChildFund to address identified issues in respect of the charity’s structure and wage costs, in the context of annual deficits incurred by the charity.
- An ineffective Board of ChildFund which has not acted in a timely manner on the recommendations of three reports which have highlighted a range of matters to be addressed urgently by the charity.
- A lack of sufficient Board oversight of the activities and finances of the charity.
- An inappropriate structure in ChildFund for financial governance, where the CEO had most of the approval authority and responsibility for internal control, the CEO was a member of the Finance & Audit Subcommittee which only met on limited occasions, and sufficient challenge in respect of financial matters was not evidenced either at Committee or Board level.
- Inadequate oversight by the Board and Finance & Audit Subcommittee of credit card and travel expenditure, procurement and purchase approvals, retirement expenditure, bonuses and recruitment practices within ChildFund.
To report a concern about a charity, please visit our concerns page.