Fraud is a significant and growing threat to the voluntary sector and is an issue that trustees cannot afford to ignore. But keeping up-to-date on the latest fraud threats and remedies can be a real challenge for trustee boards.
However help is at hand with this month’s Charity Fraud Awareness Week taking place 22-26 October. Over five consecutive days the sector will be coming together to share experiences, knowledge and best practice in tackling fraud and financial crime.
The week is jointly led by the Fraud Advisory Panel and Charity Commission in partnership with more than 40 other charities, regulators, professional bodies and other not-for-profit stakeholders in an collective effort to make the sector a more unattractive target to fraudsters.
A suite of e-learning resources and practical helpsheets will address common risks such as the insider threat, cybercrime, bank fraud, grant and donation fraud and highlight the importance of getting to know your staff, volunteers, grant-holders and donors better. On the last day trustees will be able to put their questions to a panel of sector experts in a free live lunchtime webinar.
Twelve free places are also being offered to charity staff on an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist course, starting in January 2019.
The importance of tackling charity fraud
With fraud and cybercrime are now so widespread (they are the most commonly reported crimes in the UK) it is inevitable that every charity will be touched by fraud during its lifetime. Now, it is a case of when, not if.
As custodians of a diverse, vibrant and important sector charity leaders have a crucial role to fulfil in keeping their charity’s funds, people and data safe. From a governance perspective the key question is this: do you have the right people, doing the right things, at the right time, and in the right parts of the organisation? This is why it is so important for trustees to set the tone at the top and to understand and manage their fraud risks properly.
Trustees are encouraged to use the week as a focal point for their own activities to educate and share best practice with one another. We are stronger when we work together to keep #CharityFraudOut.
How to get involved
• Download and use the free campaign materials
• Join the conversation at #CharityFraudOut
• Organise some activities to make your staff and volunteers more fraud aware
• Watch, listen and share the short e-learning resources
• Read, enact and share the practical helpsheets
10 questions every trustee board should ask about fraud
1. Know about our responsibility to protect funds?
2. Have a fraud, bribery and corruption policy?
3. Understand our financial systems and the data we hold?
4. Have regular and frank conversations about fraud?
5. Take appropriate steps to know our staff, donors and partners?
6. Regularly review and test our financial safeguards?
7. Promote fraud awareness and understanding?
8. Encourage staff and volunteers to raise concerns?
9. Have a plan to respond to fraud?
10. Know who to tell if a fraud is discovered?
For more information please visit https://www.fraudadvisorypanel.org/charity-fraud/get-involved/ or call 020 7920 8637.
Mia Campbell is head of the Fraud Advisory Panel