We will not get involved in matters which are outside the scope of the Commission's responsibilities.
Our powers to intervene are limited by:
- the extent to which the legal framework governing charities and their regulation allow involvement or intervention by us;
- the rights of charity trustees to run the charity within the terms of its governing document;
- whether the issue should properly be dealt with by another regulator or agency;
- whether our action is a proportionate response to the issues involved; and
- whether our intervention would directly bring about a solution.
These limitations mean that not all complaints will be taken up.
In practical terms the limitations on our ability to intervene means we will not take forward complaints:
- where you disagree with decisions made by the trustees and those decisions have been properly made within the law and the provisions of the charity's governing document;
- to resolve internal disagreements over a charity's policy or strategy because those involved are responsible for settling the issues themselves;
- about incidents of poor service from a charity where there is no general risk to its services, its clients or its resources;
- where the complaint arises from a charity dispute and there are properly appointed trustees whose responsibility it is to deal with the issues reported;
- where the issue reported does not pose a serious risk to the charity, its assets or beneficiaries;
- where the issue is being dealt with by, or is the responsibility of, another statutory or supervisory body;
- where there is a disagreement about the terms or delivery of a contract;
- where legal proceedings are being taken by another party against a charity, including those for the collection of debts, except in a few very rare cases where the Attorney General has specifically asked us to do so.
As a proportionate regulator we only take up issues where we believe that there is substance to a complaint. Therefore, if there is no evidence to support the complaint or allegation we may decide that intervention is not appropriate. We will not act on unsubstantiated allegations, rumour or opinion – to do this and, as a result, disrupt the charity's work would be unfair to that charity, its activities and its users and beneficiaries.
For further information, please see our publication CC47 - Complaints about Charities.