Towards the beginning of the pandemic the Charity Commission issued a regulatory alert to charities because fraudsters were exploiting the spread of coronavirus to carry out fraud and cybercrime. Recently the Commission issued a press release welcoming the imprisonment of the founder and former director of a children’s cancer charity who stole thousands and “betrayed the public and the public confidence in this charity and the charity sector.”

But when it comes to fraud the regulator knows that prevention is always better than cure, and that while trust makes the charity sector work, it is being exploited every day.

So charities need to work hard on creating that culture of fraud awareness and prevention where everyone who works within an organisation takes responsibility – from the charity trustees setting the tone at the top and monitoring the adequacy of financial controls and policies, to staff and volunteers being alert and not being afraid to call out suspicious behaviour, even from within. Fraud prevention policies are important but without implementation they are just words.

Charities should ask themselves what are their greatest vulnerabilities to fraud and focus on managing those risks.

And when fraud does happen (as it will, at some point) charities should ensure there is a fraud response plan in place which can be adapted to the circumstances because speed will be essential in dealing with it.

Charities work hard to secure their funds (especially at this time) and need to work equally hard to keep them.

For more detail on these issues watch this recording of our recent charity fraud webinar with Crowe Forensic Services: