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One in two charities in Singapore weak in risk management: survey

JUST over half or 50.9 per cent of Charities and Institutions of a Public Character (IPCs) in Singapore do not have a formally defined policy to manage risk, or are unsure if such a policy exists.

This is a key finding in a survey conducted by the Charity Council, KPMG in Singapore, and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.

The survey, Influencing Risk and Risk Culture, was released on Tuesday and categorises these charities under the "emergent" stage when it comes to attitudes towards risk management.

It found that the three most prevalent risk management challenges charities face are: lack of experience or expertise in risk management (79.3 per cent); human resources to carry out risk management activities (70.3 per cent); and financial resources to implement risk management practices (59 per cent).

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Susan See Tho, senior lecturer at the Department of Accounting, NUS Business School, noted that the findings showed that charities place financial matters as one of their highest priorities, as opposed to risk governance and information technology risk.

She said more needs to be done by charities to set the tone and inculcate a stronger risk governance culture through all levels of staff and management.

"Education will play a vital role in enabling charity sector employees to better understand the benefits of risk management, so that they are motivated and empowered in making it a priority in their day-to-day work," she said.

To lend a hand to charities, the Charity Council, KPMG and NUS Business School launched a new toolkit on Tuesday and are developing new training workshops to support the sector.

The toolkit provides a framework for risk management that is scalable to suit each charity's needs, and shares practical insights and best practices. The report and toolkit will be made available online for free.

Charities can also tap the VWOs-Charities Capability Fund, which provides grants for training and consultancy needs.