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Some data on whether charities are doing what the ACNC has asked them to do

In reading this post, please keep its age in mind.

We had occasion to look up a couple of ACT churches on the ACNC register recently. What we found was interesting. And made us wonder. So in no time we had a spreadsheet full of information. An Advanced Search for all charities with an ACT address, a status of ‘Active Registered’, and the ‘Charity Entity sub-type ‘Advancement of Religion’, gave us the additional information of the ABN, name, town/suburb, and postcode. For 255 charities. We then looked up every 5th one and recorded whether

  1. the 2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS 2013) had been lodged
  2. there was a red ‘Overdue by 7 months’ message
  3. the AIS 2014 had been lodged
  4. it was a Basic Religious Charity
  5. there were Responsible Persons recorded
  6. a governing document had been lodged, and, via the ABN
  7. the charity was incorporated.

Additionally, for all charities with a name beginning with an A through to the Canberra Korean Church we recorded items 1 and 2 above. The sample for this information was therefore 119 charities (and included our own record).

Here are the results:

  • 55% had no ‘governing document’ (normally a constitution)
  • 27% were blank under the heading ‘Responsible Persons’
  • 27% had only one person under this heading. (The circumstances where only one responsible person would be correct are very limited.)
    • If the above two results were in any way due to the absence of an AIS 2013, this would only explain 1/5th of them.
  • 18%, although incorporated, and therefore ineligible to be a Basic Religious Charity, had a ‘Yes’ in this box.
  • Even with the extra three months the ACNC allowed for the AIS 2013, 10% had a red ‘Overdue by 7 months’ message
  • Only 4% had lodged their AIS 2014. (The majority are due by the end of this month.)
  • 2% were not required to submit an AIS 2013 (because they started not long before the end of 2013-14). (We are one of these charities.)
  • 25% were not incorporated but were not recorded as a Basic Religious Charity. (It is possible that such a charity was ineligible on other grounds, although with religious bodies this would explain only a few, at most, of these cases.)

If you think that charities advancing religion in the ACT would be reasonably representative of such charities Australia wide, and I can’t immediately see why they wouldn’t be, then you have the state of the entire database for this sub-type.

As for an extension of the results to the entire 60,000 odd database? I’ll leave that to you to decide.