The Charity Commission, the regulator of charities in England and Wales, has published the findings of a study which has found that cultural factors, such as placing excessive trust or responsibility in individuals, or the lack of internal challenge and oversight, contributed to 70% of insider frauds within a sample of charities analysed by the Commission.
The Commission is therefore urging all charities to foster a culture where staff, trustees and volunteers are reminded of the need to challenge any concerning behaviour and not turn a blind eye when internal processes aren’t followed.
The findings follow a number of high profile cases of insider fraud in charities recently, including Birmingham Dogs Home, where the former chief-executive stole £900,000 from the charity. The head of finance at NSA Afan was jailed earlier this week for spending almost £54,000 of the charity’s money for her own personal gain.
The crucial lesson for charities is about changing people’s behaviours and encouraging staff and all those involved in charities to be vigilant and speak out when things don’t seem right. This must be demonstrated by everyone in an organisation to be truly effective.