The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Save the Needy Worldwide, registered charity number 1160579. The inquiry was opened on 13 October 2016.
The charity has objects for the relief of poverty and financial need, in particular for those affected by natural or other disasters.
The Commission conducted a compliance visit at the charity in July 2015. Following a review of the charity’s records and responses from the trustees, the Commission identified serious regulatory concerns which included poor financial management, lack of records to evidence the end use of charitable funds and poor governance. The charity’s trustees were issued with an Action Plan under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011 to address these concerns. The Commission is monitoring the trustees’ compliance with the Action Plan and was due to revisit the charity in December 2016.
In July 2016, the Commission was made aware by the police that a trustee of the charity had been stopped by Ports Officers when leaving the UK. Charitable funds to the amount of over £3,500 were seized from the trustee under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 as the officers were not satisfied that the funds in his possession were from a legitimate source or intended for a legitimate purposes.
A hearing at Bedfordshire Magistrates Court on 12 July 2016 granted a seizure of this sum for a period of 6 months. These funds are currently being detained by the police pending further investigation and are at risk of loss to the charity in the event that a successful application is made for forfeiture of these funds.
In response to the cash seizure, the Commission obtained the charity’s bank statements and identified a high number of cash withdrawals. The Commission has serious concerns about these withdrawals and whether funds withdrawn can be accounted for.
The inquiry will examine:
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 solely for exclusively charitable purposes and can be accounted for
the conduct of the trustees and whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law
In order to protect the charity’s funds, the Commission has made an order to restrict transactions and payments made by the charity’s trustees. The order prohibits certain cash collections and the withdrawal of charitable funds in cash from the charity’s bank accounts without the prior written authorisation of the Commission. (See Notes to Editors).
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 its website.
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.
- The Commission issued the order under section 76(3)(f) of the Charities Act 2011 on 26 October 2016.
- The investigation being carried out under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2000 is a civil investigation led by the Police.