Commission tells poverty charity to appoint independent trustees

10 Dec 2018 News

Screenshot of the Great Generation website

A Charity Commission inquiry report has found that the sole trustee of a poverty relief charity “failed to regularise the charity’s banking arrangements” and couldn’t sort out potential conflicts of interest. 

The Commission published the results of its inquiry into The Great Generation, a charity set up to relieve poverty in developing countries, on Friday. It found “failings which amounted to mismanagement on the part of the charity’s sole trustee”. 

The regulator opened an inquiry into the organisation in January 2018, after its “repeated failure to fulfil their legal reporting obligations on time, and concerns that the charity’s governance was inadequate due to it being run by a sole trustee,” which contravened the charity’s own governing document. 

The inquiry established that “ongoing issues with the charity’s banking provider” was the main factor behind its repeated late account filing, and established that, as a result of only having one trustee, “conflicts of interest could not be adequately managed”.

The Commission said however that it found no evidence of misapplied or misappropriated charitable funds. 

While the regulator did initially freeze the charity’s bank account, it quickly reversed that decision once it “was reassured that the charity’s assets were not at risk”. 

The Commission said the sole trustee has “fully cooperated with the inquiry” and has issued the charity with an action plan requiring the sole trustee to “address the weaknesses” in its governance; including appointing new, independent trustees. 

Harvey Grenville, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “Charity trustees have an important legal duty to ensure that their charity is governed and managed adequately. This includes recruiting sufficient trustees to the charity and keeping clear accounting records that can evidence exactly where charity funds have gone. Transparent reporting in this way is crucial for maintaining public trust and confidence in charities.

“While we are critical of the sole trustee for past failings, we recognise steps being taken to improve the charity’s governance and return its financial arrangements to a secure footing.”

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