By Kathryn James, Chair of the Australian Board
The Board is very pleased to report that the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission has finalised its investigation into Rigpa in Australia. The investigation began in January 2018 and although the ACNC does not divulge where a complaint may have come from, it followed allegations made against Rigpa and Sogyal Rinpoche in July 2017.
In January 2019 Rigpa signed a Compliance Agreement with the ACNC to enact the recommendations of the Lewis Silkin independent investigation and introduce policies related to good governance and safe-guarding for students and the public. This Agreement was for 6 months and we submitted reports on progress at 3 and 6 months. The ACNC investigator has written to say:
“Based on the information/documentation Rigpa has provided, I am now satisfied Rigpa has complied with the requirements set out in the compliance agreement. The ACNC will not be taking any further action at this time and the investigation is now finalised.
"I would like to commend the board on the progress made to strengthen Rigpa’s governance.
"I would also like to thank the board for its cooperation throughout the investigation and efforts in complying with the compliance agreement. I wish you well for your future charitable endeavours.”
We still have some work to do, and the ACNC acknowledges that. Importantly, in order to implement our new policies for safe-guarding students and the public, all of us involved in Rigpa activity need to understand the policies, why we have them and how to use them. The ACNC has spurred us to make changes that we needed to make, but might have been slower to do otherwise. We are grateful for the ACNC’s constructive and clear guidance throughout this process.