The Charity Commission (‘the commission’), the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Nanaksar Thath Isher Darbar, registered charity number 1025988. The inquiry was opened on 12 April 2016.
The charity has objects which include the advancement of the Sikh religion by the provision of facilities for study and worship and the advancement of education. The charity carries out its objects by owning land which is used by the Guru Nanak Multi Academy Trust for an academy school. It also furthers its objects by running 3 Gudwaras, providing educational courses, organising events and multi-faith conferences to promote the Sikh faith.
The commission has serious concerns regarding the financial management of the charity, its administration and the conduct of the trustees.
The trustees breached their legal duty to submit accounting information to the commission, by failing to submit their annual reports for 2013-14 and 2014-15. The commission had further concerns when the charity’s auditors identified a number of matters including weak and informal financial controls and unsatisfactory record keeping in the charity’s annual report for 2012-13, which was submitted in December 2015.
In July 2010, the trustees purchased a football ground site in Hayes on which they planned to build a school. The trustees were unable to obtain planning permission for the school and the trustees subsequently developed the site into a temporary school car park. They failed to obtain planning permission for the construction which resulted in enforcement action being carried out by the London Borough of Hillingdon. The trustees have lodged an appeal. The commission nevertheless has serious concerns regarding the purchase and subsequent use of the site and how trustees are discharging their duties to protect the charity’s assets.
The trustees also own 2 other nearby sites, namely the freehold of school buildings and the leasehold of adjoining playing fields. Both of these sites are occupied by the Guru Nanak Multi Academy Trust. Prior to the formation of the academy trust, the trustees used these sites as securities against loans/mortgages. The trustees are now in default and this raises a significant risk to the charity’s property. These serious concerns have prompted the commission to open a statutory inquiry.
The issues the inquiry will examine include:
- administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees
- financial controls and management 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.
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. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- 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.
- 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.
- Guru Nanak Multi Academy Trust is an exempt charity regulated by the Secretary of State for Education as principal regulator. The academy trust and its operation is not the subject of the inquiry.