The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager, and opened a statutory inquiry into the Cup Trust.
The inquiry was opened on 12 April after the Commission received new information from HMRC, as part of its regular contact about charities which the two organisations are concerned about.
Using powers under the Charities Act 2011, the Commission appointed Jonathan Burchfield, a partner at Stone King, as interim manager to take control of the charity on 26 April and informed the trustee of its decision. Burchfield will have all the powers and duties of a trustee and has been tasked with dealing with the charity’s gift aid claim, liaising with HMRC.
Mountstar PTC, which is the charity's single corporate trustee, has not been removed but, while the interim manager is in place, is unable to act on behalf of the charity. Burchfield’s appointment is temporary and the Commission will review it on a regular basis. The Cup Trust is seeking to challenge the Commission's decisions.
Recently the head of the charities department at Wilsons, Moira Protani, said that the Commission could have removed the trustee.
Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, said: “We have had ongoing concerns about the charity’s involvement in the gift aid scheme and the potential for damage to public trust and confidence. While we took no regulatory action pending HMRC’s determination of the charity’s gift aid claims, we have continued to look at the trustee’s handling of its responsibilities and duties.
“We always made it clear that if new information came to light we might open a further investigation. In light of our ongoing concerns, when we received new information from HMRC we took immediate steps to open a statutory inquiry.”
The inquiry will consider the charity’s gift aid claims and its ongoing engagement with HMRC, the management of conflicts of interest, the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustee and its involvement in the gift aid scheme, and whether the trustee has complied with its duties as a trustee. A report will be published once the inquiry concludes.
The Commission recently declined a freedom of information request from The Times for the release of correspondence relating to its investigation of the charity between 2010 and 2012.
HMRC has confirmed that it has not paid any gift aid to any scheme using the set up that the Cup Trust has, and the Trust's own accounts show that no gift aid has been received.