Press release: Charity Commission welcomes publication of the UK’s National Risk Assessment

The Charity Commission for England and Wales welcomes today’s publication of the UK’s National Risk Assessment (NRA 2017) of money laundering and terrorist financing and in particular the chapter on non profit organisations (NPO) – which includes charities.

The NRA 2017 published today assesses the terrorist financing risk of the NPO sector in its entirety to be low, whilst recognising that certain parts of the sector – particularly charities working internationally in certain countries – face significantly higher risks. The Commission welcomes this distinction and emphasises that the risks that charities face will vary depending on what they do and where they operate. In 2015, the UK’s first NRA assessed the terrorist financing risk to the NPO sector as medium-high.

The Commission is pleased to have worked with the Home Office and HM Treasury on the NRA 2017 and to have contributed, along with law enforcement agencies and other government departments, to their understanding of the charity sector in England and Wales and the risks relating to terrorist financing and money laundering that it faces.

The Commission encourages trustees to read the NRA 2017 and to consider the risks to their charity, particularly if their charity works internationally in a country that the NRA 2017 has identified as being at greater risk. The Commission has published guidance for trustees on these issues, such as its Compliance Toolkit. It also undertakes outreach work with the sector and publishes regulatory alerts and messages to assist trustees in understanding the risks of terrorist financing and how to manage them.

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said:

We welcome today’s publication of the NRA 2017 and the updated assessment on the risks to the charity sector from terrorist financing and money laundering. The risks to the sector of such abuse are not shared equally. It is essential that those charities that are at greater risk take steps to protect themselves so that charitable funds are not abused.

Any trace of terrorist financing within the sector corrodes public confidence in charities and cannot be tolerated. One case is one too many, which is why we continue to work proactively with the subsection of the sector that remains at high risk. In response to today’s publication we are reminding those charities to review our Compliance Toolkit and ensure that they have strong financial, due diligence and monitoring controls in place to prevent exploitation by terrorist groups.

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our check charity tool.
  3. Addressing the abuse of charities for money laundering or terrorist financing are two of the Commission’s strategic priorities for 2015 – 2018.
  4. The Compliance Toolkit offers comprehensive guidance on how charity trustees, staff and volunteers can protect their charities from abuse by anyone encouraging or condoning extremism, terrorism or illegal activity, including by:

    • ensuring that a charity’s premises, assets, staff, volunteers or other resources cannot be used for activities that may support or condone terrorism
    • reporting a belief or suspicion of offences connected to terrorist financing using the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321
    • reporting to the Commission if their charity (including any individual staff, trustees or volunteers) has any known or alleged link to a proscribed organisation or to terrorist or other unlawful activity as soon as they become aware of it, under the Commission’s Reporting Serious Incidents regime

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