Share

Tribunal upholds Commission's merger decision but orders changes

King Edward VII and Queen Mary School, Lancashire
News

Tribunal upholds Commission's merger decision but orders changes

Governance | Tania Mason | 24 May 2012

The Charity Tribunal has upheld the Charity Commission’s decision to allow two independent schools in Lancashire to merge, but directed the regulator to amend the scheme underpinning the merger so that the school cannot profit by using the premises for anything other than educating local children.

The Commission decided last November to allow the merger of the Arnold School in Blackpool, which is run by the United Church Schools Trust (USCT), with the King Edward VII and Queen Mary School (KEQMS) in nearby Lytham.  The decision came in spite of around 100 objections from local campaigners calling themselves Friends of KEQMS Lytham.

The campaigners had claimed that negotiations about the merger were conducted in secrecy and there was no consultation with pupils, parents or staff. They billed the merger as a “takeover by the United Church Schools Trust” and warned that if the merger were permitted to proceed, pupils with special learning needs would not be adequately catered for, and that the new arrangement would not require Christian education.

After the Commission agreed to the merger, the Friends of KEQMS Lytham, represented by Raymond Aliss and Martin Hesketh, challenged the decision at the Charity Tribunal.

In its ruling published last week, the Tribunal rejected the campaigners’ argument that the two schools were so different that they should never have been allowed to merge. It also said their concern at the way in which the merger was announced and pursued was understandable, but not really relevant to the case.

The Tribunal decided that the property of the Lytham schools could be used more effectively to provide public benefit if the schools were combined, but also accepted that the existing terms of the lease creates a conflict of interest with the objects of the charity.

“For example, the premises of the KEQMS could be used for purposes other than the provision of a school that will benefit local residents and UCST could be in a position to gain a financial advantage from some changes of use,” the judges said.

“The Tribunal concludes that a modified scheme could provide more effectively for the charity property to be used for the public benefit in providing education in or near Lytham St. Annes.”

All parties to the case were given two weeks – until 31 May - to write to the Tribunal suggesting revisions to the scheme.

In response, a Charity Commission spokeswoman said: "We recognise that the Tribunal has upheld our decision subject to certain proposed amendments to the scheme. We will be looking at how this judgment can help inform our future work. "

 

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Two-thirds of charities concerned about post-election funding cuts, says survey

24 Apr 2015

Two-thirds of charities, surveyed by accountancy firm Baker Tilly, have said that they fear reductions...

Retail charity bond raises £27m and closes early

23 Apr 2015

A retail charity bond offer for Hightown Praetorian and Churches Housing Association closed early after...

High Court refuses judicial review over Camphill Village Trust human rights dispute

23 Apr 2015

Camphill Village Trust residents and co-workers have formed a community branch of Unite the union, as...

'Wacky' fundraising activities rise by more than 200 per cent, says Virgin Money Giving

24 Apr 2015

Fundraisers are going further than ever before to encourage sponsors to part with cash, according to research...

Comic Relief launches grants programme for digital projects

24 Apr 2015

Comic Relief has launched Tech for Good, a new grants programme to help charities run digital projects...

Tower Hamlets grants-for-votes mayor found guilty of electoral fraud

23 Apr 2015

Lutfur Rahman, the former mayor of East London borough Tower Hamlets, was yesterday found guilty of electoral...

Charities 'need a complete culture change' for digital transformation, says report

24 Apr 2015

Digital teams need to develop better relationships with colleagues in IT and elsewhere in the organisation...

Comic Relief launches grants programme for digital projects

24 Apr 2015

Comic Relief has launched Tech for Good, a new grants programme to help charities run digital projects...

A third of Britons donate to charity by text message, reveals survey

23 Apr 2015

Over 30 per cent of Britons donate to charity by text message and 61 per cent now donate through online...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<