The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Our Local Heroes Foundation, registered charity number 1142029. The inquiry was opened on 12 October 2016.
The charity has objects for the relief of financial hardship of people who have served in the armed forces and who are now suffering from physical or mental disabilities. The charity carries out its objects by making grants.
The regulator is investigating the charity as it received information in June 2016 about a proposed disposal of land owned by the charity, which raised concerns that the land had been undervalued and could potentially be sold to a connected party.
A further complaint was also received in June 2016 which raised regulatory concerns regarding the founder of the charity receiving significant personal benefit through the charity, along with a complaint that the charity was only receiving 20% of funds raised through a fundraising company.
As some of the concerns raised were similar to those addressed in a previous compliance case which was closed on 24 February 2016 with an action plan issued to the charity (see endnote 1), the Commission visited the charity’s premises on 4 October 2016 where it was established that the action plan had not been complied with and that there were clear on-going serious regulatory concerns relating to the administration of the charity by the trustees and the private benefit obtained by the founder.
The inquiry will examine:
- whether there has been any misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity including whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law particularly in relation to:
- lease arrangements between the charity and third parties
- to what extent the action plan issued April 2015 has been complied with
- whether the trustees have acted prudently in relation to the financial administration and management of the charity
- whether the charity has been used for personal unauthorised benefit
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 and 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 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 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.
- An operations case report was published on 30 March 2016.