The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a new statutory inquiry into The Central Gurdwara (British Isles) London Khalsa Jatha (registered charity number 258324).
The charity has objects which include advancement of the Sikh religion, the maintenance of a Gurdwara, the advancement of education and social welfare primarily intended for members of the Sikh community in the UK but also making facilities available to members of the public at large.
In December 2012 the commission opened an operational compliance case into the charity to deal with complaints about the lack of adherence to the charity’s financial controls, financial irregularities and governance failures. Engagement with the charity revealed that an on-going internal dispute between the trustees had resulted in them not sharing financial and management information to enable them to properly administer the charity.
An action plan was issued to the charity in February 2014 and the commission monitored the trustees’ compliance with it. However the trustees failed to fully comply with the action plan. Concerns were also raised relating to the management of properties owned and rented by the charity, including allegations that there had been a private benefit to a trustee whose company was responsible for renovating the charity’s properties. It was not clear to the commission how the owning and renting of property was in furtherance of the charity’s purposes.
The commission was concerned at the trustees’ apparent unwillingness to take the necessary action to protect the charity and remedy the regulatory concerns to the commission’s satisfaction and so the commission opened an inquiry on 20 July 2015 to examine:
why the trustees failed to fully comply with the action plan issued by the commission in February 2014
whether there has been any private benefit to trustees with regard to the operation of the charity’s properties and whether any conflicts of interest have been properly managed
whether the trustees have properly administered the charity in accordance with its governing document
the financial management of the charity
whether or not the trustees have complied with their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law, in particular in relation to whether the trustees have made decisions in the best interests of the charity
whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees
The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether or not there has been misconduct or 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 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 registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
* charities know what they have to do
* the public know what charities do
* charities are held to account
- 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.