Governance a serious matter for charities

The City Harvest Church (CHC) saga serves as a timely reminder to the charities sector that there should be more stringent control over the use of funds ("Holding charities to account"; Nov 5).

It is regrettable but true that the CHC case has created an unfavourable image of charitable organisations.

This has prompted many people to be more circumspect when giving to charity.

While it is good to learn that one of the objectives of the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is to maintain public trust and confidence in charities, it is sad to see the failure of some charity organisations in complying with the COC's guidelines.

A case in point is that just over half of charity groups submitted the self-evaluation checklist for the 2013 financial year.

This does not augur well for fund raising, nor will it attract altruistic individuals to work at or volunteer their services to the organisations.

Most importantly, people sitting on the board of charity bodies and social institutions should play a more proactive role in ensuring the smooth running of the organisation.

I know of some board members who seldom attend important meetings; some do not even read the meeting minutes beforehand.

Such a nonchalant attitude results in a lack of checks and balances which, in turn, may give rise to mistakes or improper behaviour.

Perhaps, besides the COC, other agencies such as the National Council of Social Service and the Charity Council should do something about good conduct on governance, especially in the area of attendance and performance.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng