Commission assessing concerns about charity’s £200,000 loan to CEO

07 Feb 2024 News

Charity Commission building and logo

Civil Society Media

The Charity Commission is assessing concerns about an Essex charity that loaned its chief executive over £200,000 last year. 

According to the charity’s accounts ending March 2023, its CEO Tracy Rudling received a loan of £206,000 and paid £3,500 in interest from September to March for the year.

A Charity Commission spokesperson told Civil Society: “We are assessing concerns raised with us relating to Community360 and are reviewing evidence available to us to determine if there is a regulatory role for the Commission.”

They confirmed that the Commission has not opened a compliance case into the matter.

Previous engagement with charity

Community360 is an umbrella organisation for the voluntary sector in Colchester, which Rudling has led since 1992.

The Commission said it had engaged with the charity previously regarding conflicts of interest and related party transactions.

It said that at the time it received assurances from the charity that a conflict of interest policy was in place and that the Commission had received assurances that they were reasonable and being managed appropriately. 

During the year, the charity traded with Godden and Rudling Building Services, where the CEO’s husband is one of the partners.

The charity rented office space from the CEO and her husband Gordon Rudling with agreement from the board. 

For the financial year 2022-23, Godden and Rudling Building Services received £65,500 from the charity while Gordon Rudling received over £39,300. 

The total paid to related parties increased from £63,400 to £105,000 in 2022-23.

Charity: ‘We take this matter very seriously’

Community360 chair Elisabeth Feltham and deputy chair Stewart Thomson said in a statement: “Where any issues of potential or actual conflict of interest arise in our organisation, we take this matter very seriously.

“Across the organisation we are committed to ensuring that any such instances are both transparently and firmly handled in line with C360 policies and procedures.

“As trustees we lead on all strategic policies and decision-making.

“Budgetary control over external contractors is achieved through the good offices of our treasurer who has clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

“Our trustee board scrutinises all potential conflict of interest issues before contractors are appointed.”

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