October 4, 2018 / 6:38 PM / in 7 months

UK watchdog to move faster when charities accused of wrongdoing

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Britain’s charity watchdog vowed on Thursday to move faster when charities are accused of wrongdoing, following a year in which sex abuse scandals have rocked the sector.

The Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales, said tackling poor practice and improving public trust - which has hit its lowest level in years - would be priorities as it unveiled a five-year strategy.

“We will use our voice more strongly to encourage the behavior that people expect of charities,” it said.

The regulator said it would do all it could “to ensure that charities show they are being true to their own purposes”.

Humanitarian charities have been shaken by reports of Oxfam staff using prostitutes in Haiti, the exploitation of Syrian women in return for aid, and the harassment of women in the head offices of global aid agencies.

The commission said in July that the British public placed less trust in charities than in the average person in the street. Nearly half the respondents in a survey said their trust in charities had fallen.

The watchdog set out five objectives, including holding charities to account and dealing with wrongdoing and harm. It said it would become less reactive, never ignore a complaint and better use technology to speed up its investigations.

The regulator also promised to make it easier for the public to access information about charities to help them assess what difference they are making.

Editing by Katy Migiro. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.

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