The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Wimbledon and Putney Commons Conservators (registered charity number 303167).
The charity manages Wimbledon and Putney Commons and has objects to preserve the commons as open spaces for purposes of exercise and recreation and other purposes.
The Commission opened a regulatory compliance case into the charity in September 2015 to examine concerns regarding a potential financial loss to the charity due to the granting of an easement over part of the charity’s land in August 2014. The Commission met with the charity’s trustees in October 2015 and issued an action plan to the charity.
The Commission has serious concerns that the trustees have not yet complied with the action plan issued in October 2015. The Commission is also concerned that the trustees may not be able to agree a way forward due to an ongoing dispute within the trustee body and that potential conflicts of interest may impact some trustees’ decision making.
The Commission has further concerns that there may be a continuing risk to charitable property. As a result the Commission opened a statutory inquiry on 18 August. The inquiry will examine the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees with specific regard to the issues arising from the granting of the easement in August 2014 for access rights over Putney Lower Common.
The Commission has also issued an Order under section 84 of the Charities Act 2011 directing the trustees to appoint and instruct a surveyor to carry out a valuation of the easement.
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 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 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.