Street Swags Says Charity is Meeting ACNC Requirements
27 February 2017 at 3:16 pm
Controversial charity Street Swags says it hopes to get a clean bill of health after it meets the requirements of a voluntarily undertaking with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) due to be finalised on 28 February.
In October 2016, the ACNC imposed the undertaking after an investigation found a lack of financial controls and conflict of interest policies.
Street Swags, which provides lightweight and waterproof sleeping bags for the homeless, agreed to address the regulator’s concerns.
Board director Paul Daly told Pro Bono News that all of the risk management and compliance documentation had been completed for the ACNC along with delivering a strategic directions document.
“We are quite comfortable with where we are at,” Daly said.
“We expect to meet their expectations. We have been talking to them regularly and meeting their requirements.
“Assuming they are comfortable with what we have provided them, it is my understanding they will give us some sort of verification that we have met the requirements to their satisfaction and on that basis Street Swags will continue.”
He said, despite the many distractions the organisation had faced, it had tried to focus on its core activity.
“That is getting Street Swags out to our core people and in the three months to the end of December we distributed 2,000 swags,” he said.
“At the moment our goal is that by April we will be distributing 150 swags a week and by June that will go up to 200 swags a week.
“At an upcoming general meeting we would be seeking to extend our board and whether we appoint a CEO. At the moment… our strategic plan is just to have an executive manager.
“In terms of who will be the face of Street Swags we believe at this stage that we don’t need to have that. The board and executive manager will assume those activities.”
The ACNC told Pro Bono News in a statement that the matter was still ongoing.
“The ACNC will now review the response to assess if the charity has appropriately addressed our concerns,” a spokesperson said.
Charity founder Jean Madden, who started Street Swags in 2005, resigned from her roles as managing director and director of the board before the voluntary undertaking was announced.
In January 2017 North Brisbane detectives charged Madden with fraud offences following what they said was “a protracted investigation”.
It is alleged that between January 2015 and June 2016 Madden committed a number of fraud offences relating to her role as the former director of the charity.
Madden has maintained her innocence of all charges and allegations. She is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on 28 February.