The Charity Commission (‘the commission’), the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Peacetrail (‘the charity’), registered charity number 1154428. The inquiry was opened on 31 March 2016.
The charity’s objects include the advancement of the Islamic faith and the relief of poverty. The charity’s stated activities include supporting women and children who face financial hardship in the UK and abroad.
The charity was proactively identified for a monitoring visit (‘the visit’) by the commission due to its failure to file its statutory annual returns.
The visit which was carried out in January 2016 identified serious regulatory concerns regarding how the charity is being managed including; poor governance, risks to the charity’s property due to poor financial management and failures by the trustees to conduct proper due diligence and monitoring of its partners. The visit also identified that the charity was unable to provide records to evidence expenditure of over £70,000.
As part of the commission’s continuing regulatory engagement it identified further concerns about the charity’s use of a bank account of another, non-charitable, company and how these funds had been used and accounted for.
The commission considers the concerns it has identified to be so serious that it opened a statutory inquiry and directed the trustees to provide information including the charity’s activities, financial controls and an explanation as to the trustees continued failure to file the charity’s statutory annual returns. The commission has also made an order to restrict transactions or payments that the charity may enter into without the commission’s prior written approval (see Notes to editors).
The issues the inquiry will examine include:
- administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees
- financial controls and management of the charity and whether its funds have been properly expended and can be accounted for
- conduct of the trustees and whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law
The inquiry will also take steps as appropriate to safeguard and retrieve any funds which cannot be accounted for as applied for exclusively charitable purposes.
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.
- Section 47(2)(a) and (b) - Direction. The section 47 Direction is a legal power to direct the trustees to provide information, explanations and documentation which is in their custody or under their control.
- Section 76(3)(f) - Order. The section 76 Order restricts the charity from entering into any transactions or disposing of any charitable property held in the name of the charity, or held by or on behalf of the charity without the commission’s prior written approval.
- 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.