The Council for Christian Education in Schools: charity review

Two more organisations were recently accredited by the CMA Standards Council[1]. This is a review of one of them, The Council for Christian Education in Schools[2].

With a name like this, it’s most likely a charity.

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 The Council for Christian Education in Schools (The Council):

1: A search of the Register of charities shows that The Council is a registered charity:

The names in brackets are the names that The Council has said are its ‘Other Name(s)’. The CMA Standards Council says that they trade only under the first two:

Both are registered business names. (There are two others that they have omitted from the list on the Register: Access Ministries Training Institute and Link Up Market[3]).

2. NA

3. ACCESS Ministries web address begins with ‘https’, and there is a ‘closed padlock symbol next to the website’s URL in the address bar”. Likewise for Korus Connect. For each of them, then, a secure way to give. (Neither site mentions security on the giving page though.)

4. ABN Lookup says that you can get a tax deduction for a donation to The Council. However, such a tax deduction is not mentioned in the giving process on either website.

5.  The audited account of how the donations are used is the Financial Report 2017 on the ACNC Register. Within that there are two statements that give information on how the donations were used. Most donors think in terms of cash, so if that’s you, you might turn first to the Statement of Cash Flows. What you might not know though, is that you first should turn to the Notes to the accounts (Notes to the Financial Statements in this case) to check out the ‘Basis of preparation’.

Do you provide or give things to, receive things from, or have oversight of, or review, The Council or one of its arms? Perhaps you are one of the 247 employees or 550 volunteers [AIS 2017], or one of the people who contributed to the $9.87 m of revenue [Financial Report 2017]. If so, can you ring The Council’s office and request that they prepare financial statements that answer the question or questions you have about the charity? I very much doubt it. You are therefore ‘potentially interested in the information provided in general purpose reports[4].

You are therefore in the wrong place – I only have access to the published accounts of The Council[5], and its directors[6], with the agreement of its auditors[7], under the ‘Basis of preparation’, say that you don’t exist[8]. End of review[9].

(And this from an organisation held up as a standard-setter ‘in terms of impeccable corporate behaviour’, a leading light in transparency and accountability.)

 

 

  1. Their mission is to ‘help build faith and trust in Christian organisations’, including by allowing organisations who are compliant with a set of standards, created by them, to display theie seal of approval.
  2. To see the situation last year, read this review.
  3. And Korus Connect is duplicated.
  4. From Objective of General Purpose Financial Reporting (SAC2), www.aasb.gov.au:
  5. The title of Financial Report 2017 says that The Council trades only as Access Ministries. Is this because Korus Connect is a later addition?
  6. Not shown on the website, but from the Register (under ‘Responsible Persons’):

    Stephen Dickins

    Karina Gurbin

    James Hall

    John Peberdy

    Peter Rawlings

    Jorg Selhorst

    Paul Turnbull

    John Peberdy is a director of the company responsible for the CMA Standards Council, Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd.

  7. Grant Thornton, with M A Cunningham signing.
  8. I sent The Council a draft of this review. Like the last two years, they…did not respond.

 

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