New charity control

A new watchdog to police charity finances is being set up following a finances. series of financial scandals which undermined public confidence.

The organisation is being set up in response to a survey conducted by Loughborough University last year, which revealed 56% of donors do not believe their contributions reach the people they are supposed to.

John Beishon, chief executive of the Accrediting Bureau for Fund-raising Organisations, said the organisation, backed by the Consumers’ Association and the Charity Aid Foundation, will work to ensure donations are spent properly.

Beishon, a former head of the Consumers’ Association, will run the organisation with John Rimington, ex-chief of the Health and Safety Executive and Malcolm Bates, former deputy managing director of GEC.

Beishon denied the new regulator will compete with the Charities Commission for the role of finance watchdog for UK charities. ‘We want to compliment it, as we represent an additional set of accounting standards,’ he said.

He cited scandals affecting the Salvation Army, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Church Commissioners as partly to blame for the public’s lack of confidence.

‘People need reassurance about where their money is going and whether it is being used properly for the intended purpose. By providing accreditation, confidence will be restored and more people will give money,’ he added.

But the Charities Commission said the new regulator had no powers to penalise failing charities. ‘We already have powers to regulate charities’ finances,’ said a spokeswoman for the commission.

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