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Charity Fraud Awareness Week 2016 – a spotlight on fraud in the charity sector

Posted: 28/10/2016

Charity Fraud Awareness Week runs from 24 – 28 October and this year the Charity Commission, in collaboration with the Charity Sector Counter Fraud Group, has launched a new website aimed at helping charities tackle fraud.

The website contains useful tips and guidance for trustees, staff and volunteers on how to protect against fraud as well as what to do if a charity has fallen victim to fraud. It is estimated that fraud costs the sector between nearly £150 million and £2 billion a year and the consequences for a charity of falling victim to a fraud can be significant. All charities should be alert to the issue and trustees need to ensure they are taking steps to reduce the risk of their organisation becoming a victim.

Trustees are encouraged to review their charity’s current approach to fraud, looking particularly at:

  • whether the right processes are in place;
  • if the right people have the necessary level of oversight; and
  • whether the processes are robust enough to deal with deliberate and perhaps sustained attempts to defraud the charity.

Sometimes it is obvious that a fraud has occurred, but there might be occasions when a charity suspects it has been the target of fraudulent activity. Penningtons Manches’ charities team offers support to staff and trustees in assessing such situations and can carry out sensitive and appropriate enquiries in order to establish whether the police and / or other regulatory bodies should be informed. The team can also help to establish whether the charity trustees’ duties should be discharged.

If your charity has been the victim of a fraud, we can advise you on the steps that should be taken in relation to the Charity Commission and the options available for recovering the funds. Our experienced advisers have a track record of successfully recovering large amounts of money misappropriated from estates where charities are the residuary beneficiaries.

For further information, please contact Alison Talbot or Philip Collins.

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP