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Risk assessment and improving our work

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If you have been following our progress over the past few years, you may remember that some time ago we consulted on a range of proposals designed to help us become more risk-based in our work – we called this Targeted Regulation 

Since then, we have focused on two main areas:

  • identifying the key risks we need to concentrate on
  • using the resources at our disposal to deal in the most sensible way with charities and issues most likely to undermine public trust and confidence in the charity sector.

Like every regulator, it is not possible to look at every issue or every member of a regulated constituency at all times, so we have to make choices about what to focus on. 

We have a published risk framework that outlines the issues that we think have the greatest potential to undermine public trust and confidence.  Since we developed this, we have been working on how we can shape our activities to ensure that they align to this framework. 

We are now at a critical stage of developing a method of risk assessment that we can use across a range of the incoming items we receive.  These items include any concerns raised about charities, notifiable events, applications for charitable status and consent, and a wide range of other queries and questions.  We want to deliver a consistent approach when we risk assess and make sure that we are applying our resources in the right way at the right time.

In April, we will start a pilot exercise that will test the improved risk assessment process.  This pilot will focus on risk assessing the input that we receive and finding ways of considering, at an earlier stage, what else we know about that charity to form a holistic picture.  We want to make sure that we identify as many issues as possible relating to the risks on our framework at an early stage so that we can work more effectively and efficiently.  Equally, this process may sometimes involve making choices about doing less in certain situations – and we are no different to any other public body in this way.  We think this is the right and responsible approach to take as a regulator, taking a clearly focussed approach to deal with the greatest risks and issues and tackling those head-on through reactive and proactive work. 

Ultimately, the aim of this work is to improve public trust and confidence in the sector and to support the sector better.