College of Physicians undergoes charity commission probe
6 May 2019 at 4:49 pm
The professional college for Australian medical specialists is under investigation by the charities commission amid reports of high-level governance failures.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians revealed on Friday it had been formally notified of an investigation, during which the board will enter into a voluntary compliance agreement with the charities commission to improve board culture and governance.
The RACP said in a statement the organisation would operate as normal despite the enquiry and would keep members and staff informed.
“We wish to reassure our trainees and fellows that the college’s annual program of written and clinical examinations, training and inductions to fellowship will continue as normal while this investigation is underway,” it said.
Reports of governance and culture issues have plagued the RACP for more than a year.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported last year that the organisation was marred by infighting and faced allegations of a bullying culture and mismanagement of a whistleblower complaint.
The RACP also came under fire last year over a botched trainee doctor exam that crashed when held online for the first time.
An independent review into the exam glitch exposed high-level governance failures within the RACP and found the organisation had cut corners during the project.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission confirmed to Pro Bono News it has opened an inquiry and commended the RACP for their approach to the issue.
“Due to the secrecy provisions in the ACNC Act, we are unable to provide further information about the nature and origin of the ACNC’s concerns,” an ACNC spokesperson said.
“The charity [has] committed to working with the ACNC to improve the culture and governance of its board through a voluntary compliance agreement. The ACNC welcomes this approach.”
RACP president Associate Professor Mark Lane told Pro Bono News he was grateful for the ACNC’s support working through the investigation.
“I welcome the assistance of the ACNC’s expertise in governance and look forward to working with them to ensure the college operates in the interests of all its members,” Lane said.
The RACP trains and represents around 25,000 specialists in Australia and New Zealand.