The Charity Commission, as part of its campaign to get charities to submit their accounts and returns on time, has released a list of the best-improved regions for 2002, suggesting that the situation is starting to improve.
Among those areas which have made substantial improvements are Walsall, which is up 25% to 73%, Sunderland, up 18% to 67% and Manchester where 58% of charities submitted their accounts on time, an increase of 15%.
Also on the list were Plymouth, Southend-on-Sea, Bristol, Llandrindod Wells and Slough, which all registered success rates of 70% or greater, making healthy improvements on 2001.
Overall, the submission rate rose to 69% from 65% a year ago, meaning that 45,000 of 65,000 charities submitted their accounts within their ten-month deadline.
These results are part of the commission’s Accounts Aren’t Optional campaign, which has included the setting up of a web-based postcode detector, enabling donors to run checks on local charities’ records online.
Charity Commission director of operations Simon Gillespie said: ‘The public have a right to know that charity donations are well spent and they are entitled to ask questions, especially to charities which haven’t sent their books in on time.’
Charities that do not submit their accounts on time face the threat of an investigation from the Charity Commission. It has the power to suspend trustees and employees, freeze bank accounts, prohibit further fund-raising and appoint a receiver manager to run the charity instead of the trustees.