Concerns about charities guidance
Charities play an important role in society and people care deeply about the causes charities are involved with. However, on occasion, someone may have a concern about a charity or group of charities and look to the Commission, as the regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, to take up that concern.
How to raise a concern
If you wish to submit a concern about a charity or group of charities, we would encourage you to read our How to raise a concern about a charity guidance, available below. This provides information on the types of concerns you may raise with the Commission, the submission process, the information required and what you can expect from the Commission.
All concerns should be raised in writing using the online Concern about a charity form, which will guide you to provide all the information required.
Please note the Commission does not accept concerns about charities submitted by telephone unless there are special circumstances, for example, an individual has an accessibility requirement due to a disability.
How the Commission deals with concerns
When we receive a concern about a charity we will consider the issue reported to us, take a view as to whether we are best placed to deal with the matter and look at the most appropriate form of action in the circumstances.
As a proportionate regulator we will only take up issues where we believe there is substance to a concern. We will not act on unsubstantiated allegations, rumour or opinion. To do so would not only impact on our limited resources but also has the potential to unfairly disrupt the charity's work.
The Commission takes a risk-based and proportionate approach to our investigatory work. This means targeting our help and resources at the highest risks to charities' beneficiaries, services and assets and where we think our intervention will have the greatest impact.
Timescale and communicating with the concerned party
The Commission is currently dealing with a high volume of enquiries related queries and concerns at present. Please be aware that a concern about a charity may take some time to investigate, depending on how complex the case is and the Commission’s investigatory workload.
The Commission will not provide regular updates during the course of an investigation. However, we will contact the concerned party if we need further information or clarification. Meetings with concerned parties are by appointment only and at the Commission’s request. At the end of the investigatory process, the concerned party will be advised of the outcome.
To support you in understanding the Commission’s concerns process we have produced two guidance documents to:
- advise individuals and organisations on how to raise a concern with the Commission
- explain what happens when a concern is raised about a charity, setting out what an individual or charity that is the subject of an investigation can expect.