The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Achiezer Association Limited (registered charity number 255031) and Achiezer (registered charity number 234038). The charities’ objects include the relief of poverty, assistance of the elderly, the advancement of education and the advancement of religion. The inquiry was opened on 23 June 2015.
The charities were previously included in a class inquiry conducted by the commission into charities that were in default of their statutory obligations to meet reporting requirements by failing to file their annual documents for 2 or more years in the last 5 years.
The trustees, who are the same for both charities, have failed to comply with the steps taken by the commission to ensure compliance in their reporting duties. The continuing failure by the trustees to comply has raised further regulatory concerns outside the scope of the class inquiry including about the relationship between trading subsidiaries and a company associated with the trustees. Their annual reports returns and accounts/for the financial years ending 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 remain in default. The commission has already exercised its statutory powers to direct the trustees to prepare and submit the missing information and provide an explanation for the repeated default so this can be considered before further action by the regulator is taken.
The regulator considers these concerns require dealing with in a statutory inquiry.
The scope of the inquiry will be to regularise the defaults in the statutory duty to submit annual accounts, reports and returns and also consider action for persistent default. The inquiry will also examine:
- the administration of the charities by the trustees, particularly in relation to whether the trustees have fulfilled their other legal duties and responsibilities as charity trustees
- the financial management of the charities to determine whether the trustees have failed to properly manage the charities’ funds
The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether or not there has been misconduct or mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its investigative, protective and remedial powers to do so.
It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the commission are available on GOV.UK.
The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission is 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
* the public know what charities do
* charities are held to account
- Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
- The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.