For complaints about a charity or an IPC, there are a few things which you would like to take note of before raising any issues with us.
Charities and IPCs are publicly accountable for the funds they receive and privileges they enjoy because of their charitable status. The responsibility for administration and management of charities rests with the governing board members and trustees. However, there may be situations where we need to engage with charities if it is perceived that there are risks to the charity’s resources, property, work, beneficiaries or reputation or where it is appropriate for the regulator to exercise our legal powers.
When a complaint is received, the next course of action will be determined by the nature and facts of each case. In some cases, this is a matter that the Office of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) may take action for further investigation. In other cases, the public may take the matter up with the charity itself or with another public agency, such as the Singapore Police Force. In addition, any suspicious transactions or suspected terrorism financing activities should be reported to the Suspicious Transactions Reporting Office (STRO) under the Commercial Affairs Department.
The public should lodge a complaint with the Office of the COC or the Sector Administrators when there is a serious risk of harm or abuse of a charity or IPC, its assets, beneficiaries or reputation. They include :
When considering financial loss, we are concerned about actual or suspected fraud or theft regardless of the quantum involved. This does not include the value of the investment funds lost in the ordinary course of investment activities.
COC’s powers do not extend to cover activities which are criminal in nature. Actions taken by COC on such matters will be restricted to considering whether there has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity such that it has allowed illegal activities to occur. There may also be a need to act to protect charitable resources. Any suspected criminal activities will be referred to the Singapore Police Force for their action.
Occasionally, there may be a cause for concern which prompts the public to lodge a complaint about charities. Some of the issues should be raised directly with the charity, which include :
The Office of the COC will need to determine if the complaint is substantiated. If there is no evidence or basis to support the complaint or allegation, we may decide that intervention may not be appropriate. We will not act on unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or opinion as these may disrupt the charity or IPC’s work, which is unfair to the organisation, users and beneficiaries.
When members of the public raise their concerns, they are required to provide evidence to support the allegations. Comprehensive information allows us to assess your complaint more effectively and determine the appropriate action. The required information includes :
All information should be provided at the outset and not submitted in piecemeal.
Please note that:
The identities of the informants will not be disclosed to the public or the charity. However, COC reserves the right to share relevant details of the complaint with the charity, depending on the severity of the issues highlighted. The charity might form their own conclusion on the identity of the informant based on the details of the information shared.