While fraudulent activity does not commonly occur in the third sector, it is by no means immune to fraud so it is essential that you know how to protect your organisation.

This section provides a range of resources to help you in safeguarding your organisation and its assets from fraud, as well as detecting actual or potential fraud and knowing who to make a report to. 

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Charity Commission guidance

The Charity Commission has published a number of counter-fraud resources which you may find helpful:

  • Internal financial controls for charities  sets out how to manage your charity's financial activity and use internal financial controls to reduce the risk of loss. A self-assessment checklist is also available to help you evaluate your charity's performance against the regulations and recommendations that are set out in the guidance document
  • Protecting charities from harm is a 5-part toolkit which provides guidance, tools and other resources to help charity trustees put good standards of governance and accountability in place to safeguard their charities from terrorism, fraud and other forms of abuse
  • How to report a serious incident in your charity  clarifies what counts as a serious incident in your charity (including fraud, theft or other significant losses), and how you should report it.

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Other guidance and useful links

Charity Fraud: A guide for the trustees and managers of charities was published by Charity Finance Group but was produced by 15 public, law enforcement and third sector organisations as part of the Charity Fraud Project. It is written to help charities prevent, detect and report fraud, and as well as the full guide it is also available as a summary document, in both online and printable versions.

Giving Safely is an information leaflet, published by the Fraud Advisory Panel to help everyone make sure that their charitable donations really count. Its gives tips for checking the authenticity of a collector or charity, as well as tell-tale signs to watch out for in identifying a scam.

The Get Safe Online website provides practical advice on protecting yourself, your computers and mobiles device, and your organisation against fraud and other problems encountered online. It has a page dedicated to helping trustees in preventing and detecting fraud online, which sets out a variety of information ranging from understanding duties and risks to implementing banking controls and increasing internal awareness.

An anti-fraud policy statement has been produced by the Fraud Advisory Panel. Their website also gives tips on how to implement such a policy in your organisation, together with other ways for safeguarding your organisation against fraud

Large charities can use a free Self-Assessment Fraud Resilience (SAFR) tool that has been designed by PKF Littlejohn accountants and the Centre for Counter Fraud Studies at University of Portsmouth. The tool is based around 29 questions and allows a charity to establish two key things: how much fraud costs the organisation, and how well it is protected against such fraud. 

Organisations can also insure against losses caused by the dishonesty or fraud of an employee or volunteer. If you would like to find out more about this you can speak with Keegan & Pennykid insurance brokers about the specialist advice services they can offer to charities - and if you're a WCVA member you might be able to benefit from our affinity schemes discount in doing so.


Reporting fraud

The anonymous fraud reporting service, Charity Fraud Line, was set up by Crimestoppers to enable employees of voluntary organisations to pass on information about wrongdoing at work, without the worry of being identified. Charity Fraud LineCalls can be made to them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and there is also a dedicated website offering advice and an online fraud reporting function should people wish to use that instead. 

Action FraudAction Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced any sort of cyber crime. You can use their online reporting service any time of the day or night, and help and support is also available on their website or over the phone through the Action Fraud contact centre.

The Wales Audit Office's whistleblowers hotline is available to employees of the Welsh Government (and related bodies), the NHS, local authorities, and police or fire authorities, enabling them to report concerns they have about possible wrongdoings in their workplace. Individuals can raise their concerns in confidence with trained and experienced staff, via telephone or email.

Welsh GovtIn addition to this the Welsh Government has a Code of Practice on Whistleblowing Policy, under which there are nominated officers who can be approached on a confidential basis with concerns that Welsh Government staff wish to raise about suspected wrongdoing. That process is overseen by the Welsh Government Whistleblowing Panel, whose remit has been widened to include cases brought to its attention where there are concerns about the way in which Welsh Government funds are being applied by its partners and grant recipients.

And if you have reason to believe that a fraud is being committed against the Welsh Government, you can contact them via their fraud reporting line or by submitting a form to them.