Charity trustees removed after repeatedly failing to file accounts

The Charity Commission has been forced to step in after a number of trustees “failed in their duties to administer and manage” a charity.

The charity watchdog began its investigation into Birmingham-based charity, the Bethel United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic UK back in March 2017. Concerns were raised after the trustees “repeatedly” failed to submit annual financial information despite enforcement action being taken on previous occasions.

The charity had previously been subject to a compliance case after a “significant amount of funds were misappropriated” by a former trustee and failing to file financial information for over five consecutive years.

In its most recent inquiry into the charity, the Charity Commission said trustees had again failed to manage the charity’s funds appropriately.

This includes defaulting on repayments on debts amounting to £1.2 million and failing to manage conflicts of interest in relation to transactions between the charity and a local business (in which a former trustee was a stakeholder).

It was also revealed that the trustees failed, again, to file annual financial information on time.

As a result of the investigation, the Charity Commission has now issued an “action plan” which will see a new board of trustees assigned with the responsibility to resolve the charity’s issues. The regulator said it would monitor the new trustees’ compliance with the plan, and may consider “further enforcement action” if necessary.

Commenting on the report, Harvey Grenville, Head of Investigations at the Charity Commission, said the investigation has resulted in £1.2 million of charitable funds now being publicly accounted for.

“It is unacceptable that this charity has repeatedly found itself subject to regulatory scrutiny. The former trustees failed to meet the expectations of the public and the charity’s beneficiaries in terms of transparency, accountability and the careful stewardship of charitable funds,” he said.

“I expect the new board of trustees to continue making good progress, thereby returning the charity to a sounder footing.

Mr Grenville added: “The public deserve to be able to understand how their donations are being spent, and see clearly that they go towards their intended causes. As a result of our inquiry significant charitable funds are now accounted for.”

If your charity is struggling with implementing a successful account reporting strategy, then it is important that you seek specialist financial advice. Contact the charity team at Clemence Hoar Cummings for help and support.