The Charity Commission, the regulator of charities in England and Wales, has concluded that the trustees of a grant making charity breached their legal duties by repeatedly failing to file their annual returns with the commission.
Vyoel Moshe Charitable Trust (registered charity number 327054) was registered in 1986 and has objects for general charitable purposes. It carries out its objects by making grants to other charities.
The charity had previously been part of the commission’s class inquiry into charities that fail to file their accounting information in 2014. After coming out of this inquiry, the charity again failed to file its accounts (see Notes to editors)).
The commission therefore opened a statutory inquiry into the charity on 25 February 2015 to examine the reasons why the trustees had again failed to comply with their legal duty to file accounts, to examine if there were failures of governance and whether the charity’s funds were at risk.
The commission used its legal powers to ensure that the trustees complied with their obligations to submit their annual accounting information and as a result over £2,000,000 of charitable income is now transparently and publicly accounted for on the register.
The commission found that the trustees had delegated the responsibility to file accounts to one individual who had been unable to submit them to the commission before the deadline due to the individual’s personal circumstances. The trustees also explained that the charity’s records were in a format which had been time consuming to prepare. The commission does not regard this as justification for non-compliance. The trustees accepted that they were all legally responsible for ensuring the annual reports and accounts were prepared and submitted on time to the commission.
The commission satisfied its concerns about the administration of the charity after meeting with the charity’s trustees, examining the charity’s policies and procedures and its banking information. The trustees gave assurances to the commission that they had taken steps to ensure future compliance with their legal obligations.
Carl Mehta, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the commission, said:
Trustees are all collectively accountable for filing accounting information with the commission even if they delegate it to a board member. This case is about ensuring that all charities prepare and file accounts with the commission, every year regardless of circumstances. The public have the right to see that the financial activities of charities are properly recorded and that their financial governance is transparent.
The full report is available on GOV.UK.
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.
- The charity failed to submit its annual accounts and reports for the years ending 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2013. On the 2 May 2014 the charity became part of the commission’s class inquiry into ‘double defaulters’. On submission of the outstanding financial documents, the charity ceased to be part of the class inquiry on 9 July 2014.
- Details of how the commission reports on its regulatory work can be found on GOV.UK.