The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a new statutory inquiry into The Enfield Island Village Trust(registered charity number 1131604).
The charity has objects which include the provision and maintenance of a community centre and the maintenance, improvement or provision of public amenities within the village.
The inquiry was opened on 29 June 2015. The commission delayed announcing the opening of the inquiry to implement the appointment of an Interim Manager.
In February 2014 the commission opened an operational compliance case into the charity after receiving complaints about poor governance. Engagement with individuals involved in the administration of the charity identified concerns about whether there were any validly elected trustees, potential unmanaged conflicts of interest in the appointment process of the supplier who provides estate management services to the village, risk to charity funds, and whether certain decisions taken which involved charitable funds were taken properly and in the best interests of the charity.
Despite the commission issuing a formal action plan to the charity to hold elections which took place in May 2015, those currently involved in the administration of the charity failed to comply fully with the action plan and the conduct of the elections and complaints received about the process mean that the commission is still concerned that there may not be validly elected trustees.
The commission has used its powers under the Charities Act 2011 to appoint Paul Ridout and Con Alexander of Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP, as joint interim managers of the charity. They will act as managers of the charity and will have all the powers and duties of the trustees. The interim managers will act to the exclusion of the individuals currently involved in the administration of the charity. This is a temporary appointment and will be reviewed by the commission on a regular basis in line with normal procedures.
The issues the inquiry will examine include:
- the decision making of individuals involved in the administration of the charity including the management of conflicts of interest
- the extent to which charity funds are at risk
- whether there are currently any validly appointed trustees
- the future governance arrangements for the charity
- whether or not and to what extent, there has been mismanagement and/or misconduct on the part of the individuals involved in the administration of the charity in the administration and management of the charity
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 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, 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 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 76(3)(g) of the Act is temporary and protective power available to the commission after an inquiry has been opened to appoint an Interim Manager. This role is supervised by the commission in accordance with section 78 of the Act.
- 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.