The Charity Commission is “performing poorly”, has “no coherent strategy” and is “not fit for purpose”, a House of Commons Committee has said.
One MP accused the Commission of ‘going after’ a Brethren church, but allowing a “terrorist organisation” to continue, in the Committee’s evidence session last year.
The Public Accounts Committee said the Commission “continues to perform poorly and is still failing to regulate charities effectively”, in a report published on Wednesday.
The Commission had previously refused to register a Brethren church for charitable status, criticising its position on Holy Communion.
That decision came under fire in 2012, with Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke accusing the Commission of suppressing religion.
Last month, however, the Commission backed down, allowing the church to register for charitable status.
Margaret Hodge MP, who chairs the Committee, said it had found that “the Charity Commission is not fit for purpose”.
She said that when investigating alleged abuses it “too often fails to verify or challenge the claims made”. “Some of the most serious cases of abuse have not been properly investigated”, she added.
“We have little confidence in the Commission’s ability to put right its problems and failings”, Hodge also said, and commented it was “obvious” that the group “has no coherent strategy”.
The Commission’s Chief Executive, Sam Younger, has admitted the organisation must give charity bosses “less slack” at times, and: “We are aware we need to do better”.
The Charity Commission regulates over 160,000 charities across England and Wales and has a budget of more than £22 million.
Chairman of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross, said he completely rejected “the suggestion that the Commission lacks a coherent strategy”.
“I am confident that we are taking the Commission in the right direction”, he commented.
The Commission also disputed MP Stewart Jackson’s claims about a charity which reportedly had links to Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Whilst the Commission did freeze the assets of the charity, it did not revoke its charitable status, and says it is not a banned terrorist group in the UK.
Jackson said the Commission’s treatment of the charity “stands in pretty stark contrast” to its behaviour towards the Brethren church.