The inquiry was opened on 8 July 2014.
The charity’s objects are to advance the education of the public in particular by the provision of vocational education.
The commission first opened an operational compliance case into the charity in July 2013 following an OFSTED inspection into educational activities linked to the charity.
During our engagement with the charity, the commission used its powers under the Charities Act 2011 to obtain copies of the charity’s bank statements. Following scrutiny of this information, the commission identified discrepancies between the income and expenditure in the charity’s bank account, and the charity’s annual returns to the commission. Annual return information submitted to the commission for the financial years ending 2009-2013 indicated a total income of £162,000, whereas a scrutiny of the income in its bank account showed an income of over £1.1million.
In addition, the commission identified close links and transactions between the charity and a commercial company, connected to the charity’s trustees, which raised concerns about the independence of the charity and whether conflicts of interest had been managed properly.
The inquiry has only been made public now as the regulator had to undertake further analysis of financial records and verify information about the charity before informing the trustees that an inquiry had been opened.
The inquiry will examine and deal with:
the administration and financial management of the charity by the trustees, in particular the apparent discrepancy between the charity’s published income and expenditure, and the deposits and payments in the charity’s bank account
whether the charity is being used for private benefit
the transactions between the charity and the commercial company, including whether conflicts of interest have been properly managed
whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law
The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been misconduct or mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; and 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 regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- 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
- the public know what charities do
- charities are held to account
- Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Charity Commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of protective and remedial 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.