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A report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has said that the Charity Commission lacks a “coherent strategy” and that a strategic review in 2011 had not resulted in the fundamental transformation was required to bring the commission back on track. Describing the commission’s efforts to meet required budget cuts as “salami-slicing its activities rather than radically rethinking its purpose” the report highlights the need for the commission to take a stronger lead in overseeing charities.
In particular, the PAC considers the commission needs to be less willing to accept the version of events as put forward by charities and to take steps to tackle what is seen as substantial abuse of the Gift Aid scheme. For example, according to the PAC report the commission has not removed any trustees in the past three years.
With the current chairman due to depart this summer, the report suggests that the incoming leader will need to “bring about the much needed radical change in the commission’s culture and operations to restore confidence in the organisation’s ability to regulate charities effectively.”
Responding to the PAC report the charities commission said that “We recognise that we must strengthen our approach to identifying and tackling the most serious abuses of charity and we have asked for new powers to enable us to do this.”