Over 9,000 Charities Registered with Regulator
The number of registered charities in Ireland at the end of 2017 rose to over 9,000, with 1,757 charities registered for the first time during the year, according to the Charities Regulator’s annual report which was published today (Wednesday, 6 June).
The Charities Regulator’s third full year of operations was its busiest year to date with record activity levels in the areas of compliance, registration and guidance for charities.
There were 9,061 registered charities at the end of 2017, compared to 8,003 12 months previously. “In addition to the 1,757 charities registered for the first time during the year, 699 organisations had their details removed from the register,” CharitiesRegulator Chief Executive John Farrelly said.
The Charities Regulator’s investigative powers under the Charities Act 2009 came into force in September 2016. In its first full year with these powers the Charities Regulator published its first inspector’s report into a charity, launched two more statutory investigations, carried out its first successful prosecution and issued sanctions under the Act.
The Charities Regulator received 531 individual concerns from the public in respect of 351 organisations during the year. This marked a 66% increase in the number of concerns received in 2016. Three-quarters of the concerns raised issues that related to financial control and transparency, the legitimacy of an organisation and governance issues. “Where we receive a concern, we examine the information provided, conduct a risk assessment, and if warranted, seek assurances from the charity or organisation,” Mr Farrelly explained. “Where the Regulator cannot be assured by the charity, it uses its powers under the Charities Act 2009 to require information, make directions, apply sanctions and, where required, appoint inspectors to investigate the affairs of the charity.”
Some 461 concerns were closed during 2017 – compared to 129 in 2016. The Charities Regulator published three guidance documents and launched an e-learning tool during the year to support charity trustees in their duty to run well governed and managed charities. “All of our actions are part of a strategy to support transparency while supporting good people to do good work,” Mr Farrelly said.
The Charities Regulator engaged extensively with charity trustees, staff, volunteers, donors and the public during 2017 as part of the consultative work undertaken on the governance of charities. “The message that came back loud and clear is that there is a shared desire to support sustainable, vibrant charities,” Mr Farrelly said. “There is also little tolerance for charities which are not transparent, open and compliant with the law.”