The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has published a report its on case into the charity Help for Heroes (registered charity number 1120920).
A number of serious concerns had been raised regarding the charity, in particular with regards to a recovery centre (run by a separate charity – Help for Heroes Recovery).
The Commission identified regulatory concerns that needed to be addressed and engaged with the trustees of both charities to ensure that its beneficiaries were not put at risk and that the centre was operating safely. The Commission met trustees of both charities to look into the allegations and asked the trustees to provide a wide range of documents and information. The Commission also undertook a further assessment of the charities’ management and practices.
The Commission found that there were relevant policies and procedures in place, that were communicated to staff regularly, but that it wasn’t clear that they were being utilised. The Commission issued formal regulatory advice to undertake a review of these policies and procedures. The charity had, prior to our engagement, identified that its governance needed further improvement. The Commission was assured that the charity was making the necessary changes to ensure that its beneficiaries were well supported and safe while using their services.
The trustees have carried out a series of actions to strengthen the charity’s governance.
These changes will ensure that beneficiaries are protected and that the relevant procedures are followed to minimise the risk of harm to beneficiaries. In addition, the trustees had recognised that having two separate charities involved in delivering support to beneficiaries was unnecessarily complex. This work began prior to the Commission’s engagement. Following monitoring of this process, on 1 April Help for Heroes and Help for Heroes Recovery merged to form a single charity.
This case shows how a large, well-known charity has worked with the regulator to put right the issues that had been identified. The Commission is pleased that the charity and its trustees cooperated during our engagement. The public can have confidence that, as a result of the regulator’s engagement, the charity’s governance has been improved going forward.
The Commission publishes reports regarding its compliance cases where it is appropriate and proportionate to publish a report, there is significant public interest in the case and its outcome and/or other charities need to be aware of the issues or lessons in the case.
David Holdsworth, Chief Operating Officer at the Charity Commission said:
“This case shows that where serious concerns are raised regarding a charity that the Commission will take action to resolve them. In this case the charity worked with us to resolve the issues raised regarding its governance. Where charities grow over time it is important that their governance keeps pace with the changes to their charity. We advise charities to regularly review their governance procedures to ensure that they are fit for purpose.”
The report can viewed on GOV.UK.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- The Commission publishes case reports into operational compliance cases, which are cases that are not statutory inquiries and are not formal investigations. The Commission publishes a range of reports where it is in the public interest to do so. Previous reports are available on GOV.UK.