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Amy Laver

Posted 25 October 2018
by Amy Laver

Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2018

Charity workers

This week sees the third annual Charity Fraud Awareness Week jointly led by the Charity Commission and the Fraud Advisory Panel in partnership with more than 40 charities, regulators, professional bodies and not-for-profit organisations.

‘Speaking up’ or ‘raising concerns’ regarding a serious risk or threat to a charity, business or organisationis commonly referred to as whistleblowing. Now with the protection of legislation the whistleblowers are being encouraged to come forward and report. Charities must therefore ensure that they have written procedures and policies, as well as an appointed Whistleblower Advisor, in place to enable a simple, hassle free way for staff and volunteers to raise concerns regarding safeguarding, health and safety and fraud.

It is essential that charities know their people and understand who their fraudsters might be. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it is likely that fraud is carried out against a charityby internal sources, with 43% of reported fraud being attributed to employees, 33% to trustees and 10% to volunteers; fraud undertaken by an organized criminal gang or opportunistic fraudster is rare.

Investigations and reports within the sector concluded that financial/accounting fraud such as unauthorized payments to individuals, inflated expenses and theft of information and data are generally the work of individuals graced with excessive trust and/or responsibility.

With the charity sector annual income at £76 billion there is an increasing need to protect against fraud and cybercrime, now the most commonly reported crimes in the UK. There is a significant and growing threat to any organisationor business and charities are no exception. In fact, the very nature of charities makes them ever more vulnerable.

Charities must work hard to protect their income and assets from undue risk, and limit the possibility of damage to reputation through staff and trustee awareness training.

For more information and advice, please contact the Charities solicitors team on 01392 207020.

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About the author

Amy Laver

Amy Laver

Associate and Solicitor

An associate in the corporate and charities & social enterprises team