The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into The Veterans Charity, registered (charity number 1123149). The inquiry was opened on 14 April 2015.
The charity has objects to educate the public about the Normandy Landings in 1944, to maintain related public memorials, and to provide grants to charities which provide relief in need to the armed forces community.
As a result of concerns raised with the commission about the charity’s administration, the regulator is examining the charity’s financial controls, fundraising practices and the extent to which its funds are applied for charitable purposes. The regulator stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing.
The inquiry will investigate the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees, including whether they are:
exercising reasonable care and prudence in connection with the charity’s fundraising activities
taking steps to ensure compliance with relevant legislation and the charity’s governing document
taking steps to ensure the charity’s procedures and controls are sufficient to properly regulate the charity’s activities and that they are complied with
discharging their duties to safeguard and account for the charity’s property including its funds
In order to protect the charity’s funds, the commission swiftly used its legal powers to freeze the charity’s bank accounts as a temporary and protective measure whilst it investigates its concerns - see endnote 3.
The commission is not stopping the charity from fund raising. But the regulator wishes to ensure that, whilst the inquiry is being conducted, the public can continue to have confidence that their donations will be used for the benefit of the armed forces community as intended. The commission has specified a range of controls that the charity must put in place for its fundraising collections, including at The Forces March which is scheduled to commence on 20 May 2015.
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 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 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 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 protective and remedial powers.
- Section 76(3)(d) of the Act is a temporary and protective power available to the commission after an inquiry has been opened the effect of which is that the bank may not part with any money or securities which it holds on behalf of the charity without the prior written approval of the commission. The bank may, however, make such payments as shall be approved in writing by or on behalf of the commission. Payments into the account can be made as normal.
- 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.
- After opening the inquiry the commission specified a range of controls that the charity must operate in respect of the collection, handling, processing, storage and banking of cash donations from the public during its fundraising events. Online donations or sponsorship for The Forces March 2015 are being automatically transferred to the charity’s bank account which is now under the commission’s protective control. The commission has also issued specific directions by a legal order under section 84 of the Charities Act 2011in respect of The Forces March 2015. The order specifies a number of controls that must be adhered to in respect of fundraising collections and cash expenditure during the five day event. Payments can currently be made from the charity’s bank accounts for the proper for application of the charity’s funds with the commission’s prior written approval.
- The Veterans Charity is not a member of COBSEO - the Confederation of Service Charities.