The Charity Commission has published a report on its inquiry into The Hinckley Concordia Association (501904).
You can read the full statement of the result of the inquiry on GOV.UK.
The charity provides recreation and leisure facilities via the Concordia Theatre.
On 31 January 2014, following receipt of information from Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire County Council’s Safeguarding Local Authority Designated Officer the commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity under section 46 of the Charities Act 2011, to investigate and resolve the following regulatory concerns:
the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees and other individuals involved in its operation, particularly in relation to the safeguarding of the charity’s beneficiaries; and
whether, and to what extent, there was mismanagement or misconduct on the part of the charity’s trustees
The commission engaged with Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire County Council’s Safeguarding Team. On 6 February 2014 they publicly announced a joint criminal and safeguarding investigation into several people connected to the charity. The charity’s licences to hold productions involving children were withdrawn by Leicestershire County Council pending an urgent review of the terms, including the charity’s safeguarding measures. The then Chair of trustees voluntarily stepped down as Chair in February 2014. Two other trustees and the former Chair subsequently resigned as trustees in March 2014.
The regulator has concluded that two former trustees had knowledge that someone with criminal convictions that would affect their suitability from a safeguarding perspective had been employed at the theatre and did not deal responsibly and appropriately with the matter. One of those former trustees also failed to properly and responsibly deal with allegations of inappropriate behaviour by a member of staff. The consequence of these events was that the charity’s theatre productions involving children were effectively suspended by Leicestershire County Council. The Inquiry therefore concluded that these failings amounted to misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity by those two individuals. The Inquiry received no evidence to suggest that the other trustees had failed in their duties.
The regulator also found that there were shortcomings in the charity’s Child Protection Policy in place at that time. This meant that the trustees could not demonstrate sufficient safeguarding measures were in place to protect the charity’s beneficiaries and users.
The new trustee Board co-operated with and assisted the commission and demonstrated a commitment to improving the governance within the charity particularly with regard to safeguarding issues.
Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said:
The public relies on trustees to have robust procedures in place so that people working in a charity with access to beneficiaries are suitable to hold those roles. This case is a reminder to trustees to ensure their charity has appropriate and robust policies and procedures in place to safeguard the charity’s beneficiaries, including a process for recording incidents, concerns and referrals.
Trustees should ensure they take seriously and react promptly and responsibly to concerns raised. In this case, concerns raised were brushed under the carpet. We give credit to the current trustee Board in how they responded to dealing with this and ensuring that public confidence in the charity is restored.
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council issued the charity’s theatre with a new operating licence and performances for which Child Performance Licences were required, resumed from 2 May 2014.
The inquiry closed on 4 December 2014 with the publication of the report.
Notes to editors
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Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
Charities know what they have to do
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Charities are held to account
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Published: 4 December 2014
From: The Charity Commission