Charity Compliance Report 2017 Summary

Earlier in the year, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) released its Charity Compliance Report 2017, outlining the ACNC’s compliance and enforcement activities undertaken during the 2017 calendar year. The entire report can be found on the ACNC website. The report provides some insightful reading describing ACNC’s compliance activities in terms of nature, approach and outcomes supported by a number of statistics.

Some interesting points shared in the report included the types of concerns received by ACNC from the public. Most concerns received were related to governance breaches, fraud, lack of transparency, and mismanagement, including breaching the charity’s own governing document. Of the 1,695 concerns received from the public during 2017, 42% related to the duties of responsible persons including financial mismanagement and failure to address potential harm to beneficiaries. A further 29% of reported concerns questioned whether the purpose of a registered charity was of a not-for-profit nature.

In 2017, 1,084 of concerns received were resolved or deemed outside the ACNC’s jurisdiction. Based on a risk-based approach, 202 of the balance were subjected to an investigation. Of those investigations, 52% were related to the duties of responsible persons and 25% dealt with concerns with respect to the purpose of a registered charity.

Not surprisingly, the key areas of focus for the ACNC in 2018 will be:

  • fraud and financial mismanagement;
  • Political or unlawful activities;
  • Misuse of a charity for terrorist purposes or to foster extremism; and
  • Harm to beneficiaries.