26 September 2023

Charities audit finds ACNC ‘effective’

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An audit of the effectiveness of the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission’s (ACNC) regulation of charities has found the ACNC to be largely effective in delivering its regulatory responsibilities.

In his report Regulation of Charities by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Auditor-General, Grant Hehir said the ACNC had focussed on providing education and guidance to support charities’ ongoing compliance obligations.

“This audit was undertaken to provide assurance on whether the ACNC is regulating registered charities effectively, including for the benefit of recipients, donors and the wider community,” Mr Hehir said.

He said the ACNC had made relatively limited use of its stronger regulatory powers to address identified non-compliance.

“The ACNC has taken a ‘light touch’ approach to assessing whether charities meet required governance standards,” Mr Hehir said.

“Improvements to the ACNC’s compliance processes and measurement of outcomes would better support the objective of maintaining, protecting and enhancing public trust and confidence in the charities sector.”

He said the ACNC had been largely effective in promoting the reduction of unnecessary regulatory obligations on registered charities within its remit and authority, but had been less able to demonstrate its effectiveness in supporting and sutainining a robust, vibrant, independent and innovative not-for-profit sector.

“The ACNC has established a number of initiatives to reduce the red tape burden on registered charities,” Mr Hehir said.

The Auditor-General made four recommendations, all of which were agreed by the ACNC.

“It is timely that seven years after the establishment of the ACNC, we review our approach to regulation to verify whether it remains fir-for-purpose,” the ACNC said in a statement.

The Auditor-General’s online report can be accessed at this PS News link and his 75-page printed report at this link.

The audit team was Amanda Reynolds and Andrew Morris.

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