Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Paula Sussex says Charity Commission will be less likely to allow charities the benefit of the doubt


The regulator's chief executive says it will be tougher in its approach to individual charities and quicker to use its powers

Paula Sussex
Paula Sussex

The Charity Commission will be quicker to use its regulatory powers and less likely to allow charities the benefit of the doubt, according to Paula Sussex, its chief executive.

Sussex also told a conference of sector finance professionals in London this morning that Lord Hodgson, who reviewed the Charities Act 2006, would facilitate a round-table meeting next month with the umbrella body the National Council for Voluntary Organisations on theoft-mooted prospect of the Charity Commission charging charities fees for regulation.

Sussex said that some proactive regulation had already been in place before she arrived at the commission in the summer, but more work was needed.

"Before I joined the commission, I fondly imagined that it was risk-based and intelligence-led, but until a year ago it had been exclusively reactive," said Sussex. "The commission has already informally been putting in place a risk-based strategy, but it's not sufficiently systematic.

"The benefit of the doubt is something we can't give charities and is something the public is starting to say it can't give," she said, referring to the results of an Ipsos Mori pollcommissioned by the regulator and released in the summer, which showed strong public appetite for transparency in the sector.

In addition to being more proactive, the commission will also be tougher in its approach to individual charities, she told the conference, the Charity Finance Summit organised by Charity Finance magazine. "Previously we might have written a polite and gentle letter, which we would have followed up with a 'would it be all right if'," Sussex said. She said the regulator would now be quicker to use its powers.

Sussex said that momentum for this tougher approach had been building before her arrival, with the commission opening four times as many statutory inquiries in 2013/14as it had in the previous year, as well as increasing the number of operational compliance cases.

Sussex said the sector should continue to strive for greater transparency, again pointing to the Ipsos Mori report. "We have got more to do; we have got to be more accountable," she said. She urged the audience to increase the amount of information in their annual documents submitted to the commission in the interests of transparency.

Pointing at the commission's budget cuts in recent years – it now has slightly more than 300 staff, half the number it had 10 years ago – she said she needed the sector's help in regulating charities. "I'm so reliant on you feeding back on the effectiveness of our guidance, on what works and what doesn't work," she said.

Sussex also repeated the commission's plea for better reporting of serious incidents, saying she was aware that the 1,280 serious incident reports they received last year were "probably just the tip of the iceberg".

She also revealed that she had slept rough on Friday night to raise money for the charity Action for Children.


  1. Does the Charity Commission know that Garth Christie's PBCC meeting in Horsforth, Leeds, UK, isn't part of the 'Churches Together' scheme in Horsforth?


  2. What doubt?
    Everything seems above board..

    1. Anon 14 October 11:24

      I suggest you read these posts taken from another blog thread in which you made the same silly comment on 13th Oct @ 12:08


      That’s a very arrogant, flippant and dismissive comment Anon 13 October 12:08.

      - physical family separation still continuing
      - family members not allowed to see each other, stay for a meal, visit for birthdays, weddings, funerals etc
      - parents still separated from children, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc
      - family members still physically separated at funerals
      - intimidation, legal threats, attempts to silence
      - no compassion - only this week we learn of a lady withdrawn from and separated from family and friends at a time when she needs such as she has cancer

      All of this and much more still continuing, despite the fact PBCC EB signed up to a Charity Commission agreement stating these they would change. Therefore, this means the PBCC EB are in breach of compliance with the Commission.

      Anon 12:08 - That’s the opposite of “above board” and “case closed” !

      Anonymous13 October 2014 19:20
      Anon 12.08...My case isn't closed and the CC will be hearing from me very soon; likewise, from many others

      Anonymous14 October 2014 02:28
      You have a great sense of humour, Anon12:08 - unfortunately the case is far from closed and it won't be funny when the time comes. Some will experience blessed relief, my main concern is for the thousands of duped individuals who will be suffering a terrible loss of direction. Hopefully ,as a spin-off, the conman Australian leader of the brethren Bruce David Hales will be banned from entering UK by the Home Office as an undesirable person. Time will tell whether he then tries to literally fly in under the radar.

  3. Perhaps Anon 11.24 could identify the significant changes introduced by the PBCC EB since the Charity Commission gave the benefit of the doubt to the Preston Down Trust in 2012.
    Has the detriment and harm ceased? Is the EB's practice of separation now moral rather than physical? Some evidence of the foregoing would provide just a little credence to your bland assertion rather than the evidence to the contrary that continues to emerge.
    RRT activity and choirs singing in Retirement Homes don't cut the mustard, I am afraid.

    1. I would use the term 'choirs' loosely. A friend of mine who is in a proper choir watched/listened to their performances on video and proclaimed them 'awful'. Very 'shouty', not much in the way of harmony, why can't the PBCC do ANYTHING properly. A joke RRT (people in 99p Hi-Viz vests) a joke religion that wants no one to join and an organisation that 'welcomes scrutiny' but as soon as there is any, they resort to lawyers.

      An organisation that arranges searches of it's own members by outside security people has something to hide.

  4. The last "choir" performance I saw on their vid, appeared to have an audience of one,who seemed to be asleep. In fact one of the choir walked off mid performance. There were no harmonic arrangements and the standard was probably lower first school. This is to expected, of course, from something hastily thrown together to dupe the public as the EB/PBCC have no background of culture and performance.