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ACNC puts charities on hold

The average wait time for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission to answer a phone inquiry has risen from 38 seconds to seven minutes over the past year, the watchdog’s annual report has revealed.

Commissioner Dr Gary Johns told Pro Bono News the ACNC’s transition to a new IT system last year had caused a major increase in demand for help logging into the new Charity Portal.

But this drop in service standards has been criticised by Community Council for Australia CEO David Crosbie, who said this showed a level of mismanagement.

“To see average wait times to answer the phone blow out from 38 seconds to seven minutes is just straight management incompetence. Surely someone could see the problem and allocate more resources in that area?”

Crosbie praised the commission for processing 96 per cent of all charity applications within 15 days, but he said there had been limited work towards the ACNC’s Charity Passport initiative.

The report said the Charity Passport – an online tool allowing government departments to access charity data directly from the ACNC – contained 72 active accounts across 20 government agencies by the end of the financial year.

“For many of us, this was one of the strongest reasons for supporting the establishment of the ACNC and for all charities being prepared to provide additional information on an annual basis,” Crosbie said.

“We wanted our information to be provided once and used across many agencies, not duplicated in hundreds of different ways by individual government departments and regulatory authorities.”

Crosbie said early progress made on advancing the Charity Passport seemed to have stalled.

The ACNC was overall able to meet six of its 12 performance criteria over the past year, with two targets partially met and four not met.

To view the ProBono article in full, click here.

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