Commission’s interim chair’s charity had to resubmit accounts

03 Mar 2021 News

A charity that was until recently chaired by Ian Karet, interim chair of the Charity Commission, had to resubmit its accounts after they were inadvertently filed against the wrong year. 

The Nathan Karet Charitable Trust, entry on the register now shows its accounts to have been filed 19 days late. Its 2020 accounts show as having been filed on 24 February, two days before he was announced as the Charity Commission’s interim chair. 

Karet had become a Commission board member in 2019. Board members, but the not the chair, are able to continue to hold trusteeships and Karet’s were declared on the register of interests. He was also a trustee at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

He is a solicitor and a partner at the law firm Linklaters, and sits part time as a deputy High Court judge. In line with expectations, Karet stood down from his two trusteeships on being appointed as the interim chair. 

In a statement Karet said: “I was until recently a trustee of the Nathan Karet Charitable Trust. The charity was established by my parents and a great aunt, and family members have made donations over the years. The charity has (and so far as I know has had) no other source of funds. It has supported a range of causes including the arts (theatre and music), science and religious charities. 

“I resigned as a trustee before taking on the role of chair at the Charity Commission. Ordinary board members of the Charity Commission may be trustees of charities, provided this is declared in the register of interests - as this was.

“The charity’s 2019 and 2020 accounts were prepared in time by the trustees with the assistance of an experience chartered accountant. It appears that on submission of the 2020 accounts in early 2021 those accounts were inadvertently filed against 2019 and were not shown as received for 2020. When this came to our attention the 2020 accounts were filed again.” 

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport declined to comment on whether it was aware of the charity's tardiness, and directed enquiries to the charity. 

About the charity 

The Nathan Karet Charitable Trust was formed in 1983. It does not have a website and its contact address is that of Linklaters, the law firm where Karet is a partner. 

According to documents filed with the Commission it had an income of £421,320 for the financial year ending 5 April 2020, with a spending of £269,800. 

The charity employs no staff and most of the spending is in the form of donations to other charities. 

Its income for the financial year ending 5 April 2019 was £1.56m, when it spent £47,200. The three previous years its income was under £15,000. 

The 2020 accounts, which were signed by Karet as chair on 28 January, show it held £2m in reserves. 

Just over £1.6m of its funds are held as cash, while £442,000 is held in investments. The charity received £17,623 in income from its investments. 

Accounting firm Baginsky Cohen did the independent examination of the accounts and not raise any concerns. 

Concerns about transparency

Dr Alex May, a researcher, has also raised concerns about transparency of the charity and highlighted that the 2019 accounts on the Commission’s register actually link to the 2020 accounts. 

Writing on his blog he criticised the Nathan Karet Charitable Trust’s accounts for “opaque” statements about how money is spent, and not being clearer about how funds are raised. 

He also said: “The latest accounts show the charity made grants to other charities totalling £268,000 last year. Yet the recipient charities aren’t identified. Why?”

Responding to May, Karet sent a similar statement to the one above. 

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