The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a Christian church charity, over “substantial unexplained expenditure and potentially conflicted payments to people connected with the charity”.
The Croydon Tabernacle is under investigation after the Charity Commission examined the charity’s financial information, and found cause for regulatory concern. The regulator has frozen a bank account controlled by the charity, as part of its investigation.
The Commission has been engaging with the charity since November 2016 to examine its concerns, this has included a meeting with the charity in February 2017.
However, the Commission said that the “engagement did not resolve the regulatory concerns so a statutory inquiry has been opened”.
The charity’s objects include advancing the Christian faith, relieving people who are in conditions of vulnerability or hardship and promoting charitable purposes which might benefit the areas of Surrey, Greater London and other parts of the United Kingdom or the world.
The Charity Commission said that the inquiry will examine the extent of risks to charity property, and whether:
- There has been misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of the charity and/or breaches of trust or non-compliance with charity law
- Potential conflicts of interest have been adequately identified or managed
- Connected party payments or transactions have been properly authorised
A Croydon Tabernacle spokesman said: “Our board of trustees has received a notice of statutory inquiry from the Charity Commission. We have been assisting fully with their inquiries and, under their guidance, we will take appropriate action to make sure we are compliant."
“We would like to thank our tireless army of volunteers for their hard work within our congregation, our local community and far beyond. We appreciate their patience and understanding while this inquiry takes place.”
Editor's note: This story was updated on 02/05/2018 to include a comment from the Croydon Tabernacle.