The Charity Commission has proclaimed its Faith and Social Cohesion Unit (FSCU) to have been a success despite staffing shortages and funding concerns.
With the unit preparing to disband in August, a report to the regulator’s board reveals that it “operated with staffing shortages for the greater part of its duration” as staff proved attractive to other government departments and charitable foundations.
Meanwhile, a delay in approving additional funding from CLG and uncertainty about how much would be provided led to “a lengthy period of anxiety for the team” earlier this year, before the confirmation of £100,000 to enable the unit to continue as a smaller team.
The report therefore suggests that for “future projects of this nature, the impact of any funding uncertainty should be built into work programmes”.
Nevertheless, the report credits the FSCU with ensuring that 612 mosques are now registered as charities or have applied, up from 331 in October 2007.
It also commissioned the first-ever national survey of mosques, provided tailored guidance on governance and delivered over 200 presentations and 56 registration and governance workshops.
An interim evaluation by management consultancy Campbell Tickell was sufficiently positive to be “instrumental in the extension of the programme”.