Press release

New charity investigation: Manor Building Preservation Trust

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Manor Building Preservation Trust, registered charity number 1104318.

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The Charity Commission (‘the commission’), the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, opened a statutory inquiry into Manor Building Preservation Trust Limited (1104318) on 3 June 2016.

The charity’s objects are for the preservation and restoration of listed buildings. The charity was registered with the commission in 1999. It owns property in the UK and the Ukraine.

The commission opened a formal investigation after being made aware of serious regulatory concerns regarding the possible misuse of funds and assets belonging to the charity.

Analysis of the charity’s accounting information has identified that the trustees may be abusing the charity for significant private gain and that the charity is not operating for the public benefit. The commission is also concerned about a possible failure by the trustees to manage conflicts of interest.

As a result of these concerns the commission promptly used its temporary and protective powers to prevent the trustees and their bankers from parting with any property or funds belonging to the charity including investments and a grade II listed building (see endnote 1).

The inquiry will examine:

  • whether the charity’s objects are being met and that the charity is operating for the public benefit in particular due to the apparent extent of the private benefit issues
  • the financial controls, management and application of the charity’s funds, property and assets and whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees and consider whether remedial regulatory action is necessary
  • the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees, particularly whether the trustees have acted prudently and exercised reasonable care in respect of the day-to-day running of the charity
  • whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law

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 are available on GOV.UK.

Further information about the charity can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.

Ends

PR39/16


Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.
  3. 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 investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
  4. 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.

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Endnotes

  1. Three orders were made on the 3 June 2016 under section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act 2011, and 1 on the 7 June 2016, to various banks holding funds in accounts on behalf of the charity preventing them from parting with that property belonging to the charity without our written consent. An additional 4 orders were also made on 8 June 2016, preventing the trustees from parting with any property belonging to charity.
Published 7 July 2016