10 questions that help trustees prevent fraud

Fraud is a serious problem and isn’t just an issue for commercial organisations.  In fact, evidence suggests that charities are being targeted more than ever, because they are perceived by fraudsters to be more vulnerable. They are often cash-rich and have a high number of transactions with low staffing numbers.

It’s worth remembering that trustees have a duty to protect their charity’s resources.  They are expected to have put in place suitable measures to identify, combat and prevent fraudulent activities.

Here are 10 questions that trustees should ask themselves:

  1. Do we understand our financial systems and data, and what “normal” looks like?
  2. Do we have regular and frank conversations with delivery partners?
  3. Do we conduct pre-employment screening and in-service checks on staff?
  4. Do we encourage staff and volunteers to voice concerns?
  5. Do we run process test checks and observe jobs in action?
  6. Do we have an anti-fraud policy and code of ethics?
  7. Do we conduct an annual fraud risk review?
  8. Do we understand what fraud is and what our responsibilities are?
  9. Do we promote fraud awareness and understanding?
  10. Do we have a response plan ready so everyone knows what to do?

The Charity Commission is aware of trustees’ vulnerability and there is a useful website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protect-your-charity-from-fraud to improve awareness of trustees and trust directors.