The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into a charity which had its funding suspended by the Welsh government after theft left £90,000 unaccounted for.
But the charity has claimed that it has been victimised by the Welsh government and the Charity Commission after a single employee committed theft.
NSA Afan is a community regeneration charity which had an annual income of £1.5m. It provides a number of community services such as adult learning, youth engagement and recycling projects in Sandfields, Port Talbot.
It raised concerns about theft by an employee last year, which led to an arrest and criminal charges. The Welsh government has suspended its funding, and the Commission expressed “serious concerns” about “the charity’s governance and internal controls and the apparent failure of the trustees to remedy these issues, placing the charity’s property and its operations at risk”.
But Ian Isaac, chief executive of NSA Afan, said it was wrong to investigate his organisation over the actions of a single former employee who now faces criminal charges of theft.
“They have been guilty of victimisation”, he said. “Both the Welsh government and the Charity Commission. They have victimised the charity when the fault lies with a single individual. We are trying our best to serve our local community.”
He said the Welsh government claimed to have produced a report into the charity, but had not shared it with anyone who worked at NSA Afan, and that he had been unsuccessfully seeking to meet with the Charity Commission for six months. He said the Commission was wrong to upgrade the investigation into his charity from a compliance case to an inquiry without first meeting with him.
“NSA Afan refute the allegations from Welsh government and challenge all their initial findings,” he said. “The Welsh government has apparently completed its inquiries and notified the Charity Commission. But they have not, as today, provided the organisation with a copy of that report.
“The Commission have taken months. We’ve tried to arrange to meet them and have asked them to explain their concerns, but we haven’t succeeded in speaking to them.”
A Commission spokesman said: ‘’The Commission met the charity prior to opening the inquiry and a further meeting has been arranged. The Commission’s decision to open an inquiry is not taken lightly, is based on evidence and in accordance with its risk framework’’.
The Charity Commission inquiry will examine:
- the financial controls, management and application of charitable funds, property and assets belonging to the charity
- the governance, management and administration of the charity by the trustees, particularly whether the trustees have acted prudently and exercised reasonable care in respect of the day-to-day running of the charity
- whether the charity’s decision making process is adequate, in particular how it has managed conflicts of interests