Australian Charity Regulator Looks At UK Experience
Friday, 20th July 2012 at 11:22 am
Two new UK reports into regulation and public trust in charities is offering timely insights and comparisons for Australia’s new charity regulator, according to newly appointed ACNC Taskforce Assistant Commissioner, David Locke.
Research conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the UK Charity Commission looks at public trust and confidence in charities and the UK National Audit Office has released its review on charity regulation looking in particular at the UK Charity Commission.
David Locke, a former Executive Director of Charity Services with the Charity Commission of England and Wales was seconded as a chief advisor to the ACNC Taskforce in Australia until his appointment to ACNC Implementation Taskforce Assistant Commissioner, Charity Services in April 2012.
Locke says the two reports provide interesting insights and comparisons, given the pace of Not for Profit reform in Australia and specifically the introduction of the charity regulator, the ACNC.
Locke says, as in Australia, the UK research found that trust in charities is high. The UK report found that three quarters of the public (73 per cent) give a rating of six out of 10 or higher for trust and confidence in UK charities.
However, Locke says the survey also found that public knowledge about the regulator in the UK is low although it is improving (55 per cent in the UK said they had heard about the regulator).
The Charity Commission report also found that 67 per cent of the public say that some fundraising methods used by charities make them uncomfortable.
Some 43 per cent of the UK public said ensuring that a reasonable proportion of donations make it to the end cause was the top factor in choosing a charity and knowing that charities are making a positive difference to the cause they work for was the second most important factor (31 per cent).
The UK National Audit Office review looked at the Charity Commission and said the regulator played an essential role in supporting public trust and confidence in the charity sector.
David Locke says the approach of the Australian charity regulator will be one of education and guidance.
“In Australia, the current reporting framework for NFPs and charities is complex, costly and difficult to manoeuvre.The ACNC Taskforce is committed to the streamlining of reporting requirements and to providing advice and support to help people govern their charities well.
“Through the public register and the work of the ACNC we will aim to promote the public's understanding of charities and the critical role that they play in our society. We believe that we will also be able to provide information of value to both State and Federal Government that will help inform the development of public policy,” he said.
The new ACNC regulator is expected to be fully operational from 1 October 2012.
Research study conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the UK Charity Commission: Public Trust and Confidence in Charities can be found here.
The National Audit Office briefing: Regulating charities: a landscape review can be found here.