Charity Commission warns over capacity to regulate safeguarding

29 Mar 2018 News

Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications, Charity Commission

The Charity Commission’s director of policy has said politicians must consider how they want to regulate safeguarding in charities, after a growth in reports of issues.

Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications at the Charity Commission was speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Charities and Volunteering yesterday. 

She said that since The Times highlighted historic issues with safeguarding in the sector, the “volume of reports coming in has increased immensely”. Charities are also being more open and providing more detail.

But she indicated that this presented a "challenge to parliamentarians". She said the Commission may struggle to handle safeguarding issues, because it cannot prosecute, and does not have the resources to handle a big increase in its caseload. And she suggested that there may be a need for a specialist unit to tackle international charities, due to the complexity of their governance arrangements, and the fact that issues under investigation are happening in other countries.

Atkinson said that the Commission had long suspected that the issues were underreported, which is why it issued an alert last year.

She said policymakers needed to think about what they and the public wanted from the Commission and from charites, and ensure the regulator has the "power and capacity" to meet those requirements.

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