Saturday, October 14, 2006

Charities concerned over risk issues

Recruiting qualified staff and trustees, pension deficits and full cost recovery pose the biggest financial threats to charities, according to PKF’s fifth annual risk management research reports Charity Times.

To deal with these risks, the survey Managing Risk – Working with Others, produced in association with CFDG, found that over 90% of those questioned had taken some steps towards risk management. These included implementing risk policies, risk registers, business continuity plans and control assurance. However, less than 20% had all of these in place.

Commenting on the findings, Keith Hickey, chief executive of CFDG said: “Charities are moving in the right direction but the PKF report shows that more still needs to be done to minimise the risks the sector faces. Most larger charities have the people and resources to deal with risk but smaller charities are often more vulnerable to the range of threats that they face. We will continue to raise the issue among our members and highlight examples of best practice so that they can learn from each other but charities have to accept that this is an ongoing issue in need of continuous review.”

Meanwhile, new research from Volunteering England has found that fear of litigation and excessive risk management has become a real barrier to volunteering. The organisation is calling for excessive risk management to be challenged as it is stopping potential volunteers from coming forward, with over one million volunteers having considered stopping volunteering through fear of legal action.

This is supported by Girlguiding UK which currently has a shortfall of 8,000 volunteers. Head of guiding development, Jennie Lamb, said: “A large number of organisations and groups are affected when ‘over the top’ decisions are made [and] we see a need to challenge excessive risk management. For example when a local authority decides it’s not safe for children on school residentials to light fires. It isn’t long before our volunteer leaders feel that this activity must be too risky and remove it from their programme. It takes a very confident volunteer to continue to offer something a local authority has banned or restricted in some way.”

The Volunteering England report On the Safe Side can be downloaded from

For the PKF report, email


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