The Charity Commission has issued an official warning to a charity where trustees have “failed to take reasonable steps to prevent physical, verbal or threatening behaviour”.
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash is a Sikh faith charity which runs places of worship in Coventry. The Charity Commission opened a compliance case in 2015 and has now issued an official warning because the charity appears to have breached charity law.
It is the second time that the Commission has used its power to issue an official warning.
A spokeswoman for the regulator said: “The trustees have been unable to collectively manage and act in the best interests of the charity due to internal differences. The charity appears to have failed to adhere to charity law duties.
“The trustees have also failed to take reasonable steps to prevent physical, verbal or threatening behaviour on the charity’s property or towards members of the charity, and breaches of the peace have led to regular police attendance at the Gurdwara. This represents a failure to comply with the trustees’ legal duty to avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk.”
Earlier this year a news website, Sikh24.com, published footage of a fight at the Gurdwara, including police escorting an individual away. In 2012 the Coventry Telegraph reported that a pensioner was attacked with a mop.
‘Faces further regulatory action’
The regulator said the charity must now take action or it could face further regulatory action.
A spokeswoman said: “The trustees are to make and implement collective and lawful decisions about the management and administration of the charity in the interests of the charity only, ensure that the charity’s assets are managed responsibly, and ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place for beneficiaries and trustees so that they are not exposed to undue risk of harm on charity premises.”
The warning adds that a failure to address the issues “may lead to further regulatory action being taken by the Commission”.
The charity’s most recent accounts, for the year ending December 2015, show an income of £510,000 and expenditure of £370,000.
Most of its expenditure was on generating voluntary income, with the charity saying it spent £280,000 on generating income.
The accounts also reveal that the charity has been in dispute with the local planning department following the purchase of a site from the Salvation Army. One of the conditions of purchase was the construction of 15 flats but the charity says it needs to use the space for a car park.
The charity owns a number of properties in Coventry, which are collectively worth more than £4m.