Anglican Aid: charity review

This is a review in the series ‘Organisations accredited by the CMA Standards Council’. The CMA Standards Council is ‘a ministry of Christian Ministry Advancement’, with a mission “to help build faith and trust[1] in Christian organisations, be they churches, charities, schools or otherwise, to enable them to achieve more effective outcomes” Anglican Aid’ is one of these accredited organisations.

I sent a draft of this review to Anglican Aid[2]. Like last time, they did not respond.

‘Anglican Aid’ is an organisation that seeks donations online. The Australian charities’ regulator, the ACNC, in their Factsheet: Making sure your donation gets to where it needs to, gives “some steps to consider to help make sure your donation is going where it is intended.”

  1. Check the organisation’s name.
  2. Ask for identification from anyone seeking a donation.
  3. Be careful of online requests for donations.
  4. No tax deduction doesn’t mean the charity is not a legitimate one.
  5. Find out more about how the charity says it uses donations.

Here’s the results for ‘Anglican Aid’:

1. A search of the Register for ‘Anglican Aid’ brings up 14 (fourteen) charities. The one we are looking for, from the ABN in the CMA Standards Council’s directory, is the first one, The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid. This has ‘Anglican Aid’ in its name. As does the second one, The Missionaries Of St Andrew Anglican Aid Abroad.

The third one, The Archbishop of Sydney’s Overseas Relief and Aid Fund, is in the list because it says that it is ‘Also known as ‘Anglican Aid’. Confusing. As does the last one, The Archbishop of Sydneys (sic) Overseas Ministry Fund. Confusion doubled.

No reason could be found for why the other 10 appear in the results.

Note 14 in the Financial Report 2018[3] says that Anglican Aid is the trustee of the Archbishop’s two funds above[4], so I suspect this is why they have included ‘Anglican Aid’ on the Register.

But the ‘name’ ‘Anglican Aid’ is a registered business name, registered to[5] the CMA Standards Council accredited ‘Anglican Aid’, The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid. So, there is only one charity named ‘Anglican Aid’, so the use by the two funds (even if their trustee is Anglican Aid) is confusing (and unnecessary)[6].

The website for ‘Anglican Aid’ is a website that covers all three charities – Anglican Aid and the two funds for which it is the trustee. They are treated as one entity of three parts:

The giving page on the website supports this single entity stance. You are therefore entitled to expect that that entity would be accountable for your donations. But there is no such entity, just three separate charities who operate as one.

Treating Anglican Aid this way would be fine if the combining of the charities continued into financial reporting, but it doesn’t: there are three separate financial reports on the ACNC Register.

‘Anglican Aid’ appear to have recognized this issue and have offered some accountability in the Annual Report 2017-18:

Note that these figures don’t come from a set of financial statements ‘for all the funds administered by Anglican Aid’. They don’t come from anything other than a simple addition of some of the figures in the three ‘audited financial reports’ /’summary financial statements’ (that is, Anglican Aid and its two funds). This is a long way short of the accountability that is reasonable to expect for a donor.

Being short of a set of financial statements is a disappointing omission (a big one), but what is included two pages further on in the Annual Report is hard to believe. Anglican Aid has included an audit opinion, by the auditor who audited the statements of each of the three charities, Warwick Shanks of KPMG, on a set of financial statements that all the evidence suggests doesn’t exist[7]:

No ‘accompanying Financial Report of the Funds’ has been included in the Annual Report. In fact, the only reasonable conclusion from Anglican Aids’ publicly available information, is that this Auditor’s Report, by a partner of KPMG, is a report on something that doesn’t exist .

This from a pillar of the Anglican Church, and an organisation that is held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability[8].

These are the people responsible for this situation:

David Dennis

Is it this David Dennis?

Douglas Marr

Emma Penzo

John Menear

Keith Walker

Peter Rodgers

Peter Tasker

Sally-Anne Bathgate

End of review.

 

 

  1. Emphasis in original.
  2. Number 8 of the CMA Standards Council’s ‘Nine Principles of Ministry Accountability‘ is ‘The organisation must be transparent and accountable to its stakeholders’. One of the nine ‘Standards’ that ‘fall under’ that principle is about openness and responsiveness to feedback:
  3. From what is in the governing document on the Register for the Overseas Ministry Fund, we have to assume that the trustee has been since changed to Anglican Aid: For the Overseas Relief and Aid Fund, the governing document contains only a statement in an undated and unsigned ‘Rules’:

  4. Anglican Aid itself appears confused. In the Financial Report 2018, it says that Anglican Aid incurs operating expenses on behalf of Anglican Aid:
  5. This report is new for this year.
  6. Which entity or entities did the CMA Standards Council assess to issue a seal? The accreditation has been issued to the separate charity called Anglican Aid. There is no mention of their two funds, nor a combined organisation.

 

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