Charity Commission
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Trustees failed to manage guest speaker at charity event

The Charity Commission publishes report of its inquiry into Global Aid Trust Limited.

The Charity Commission (’the commission’) yesterday published a report of its inquiry into Global Aid Trust Limited (registered charity number 1123560) (‘the charity’). The charity was registered on 10 April 2008 and has objects which include advancing education and relieving financial hardship.

The commission contacted the charity in October 2014 and later undertook a compliance visit on 12 November 2014 to review the charity’s management of its events and speakers. Following its review the commission was not satisfied that the trustees had followed the charity’s own policies and procedures.

The commission opened its inquiry into the charity on 18 February 2015. The charity featured in a programme ‘Charities Behaving Badly’ (see endnote 1) and which raised serious regulatory concerns regarding the management, by the charity’s trustees, of one of the charity’s events.

The commission concluded that the trustees had failed in their duties to protect the charity and that there had been misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity – including failures to manage and exercise sufficient oversight of employees, volunteers and external speakers at the charity’s events and follow the charity’s own policies and procedures.

To address its conclusions the commission issued an Order on 19 February 2016 under section 84 of the Charities Act 2011 directing the trustees to undertake a number of actions as set out in the report. The trustees must report back to the commission on their compliance with the Order by 26 September 2016.

The trustees cooperated fully with the inquiry and responded responsibly to the commission’s regulatory concerns, its criticism of them and the impact of the programme on the charity by reviewing and improving the charity’s management and policies

Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement at the Charity Commission, said:

Charities that regularly host speakers must have proper safeguards in place to manage the associated risks of hosting events and/or guest speakers which include carrying out appropriate background checks. Trustees should be alert to the risk that a speaker may have an ulterior motive for wanting to work with their charity which could be unconnected with the charity’s work.

Where a charity works with volunteers or employ’s staff they should ensure that they are clear what they are supposed to do, with clear boundaries when representing or speaking on behalf of the charity.

Trustees must ensure that staff and volunteers get appropriate training, and that they must comply with the charity’s internal policies and procedures. Trustees have an important role in promoting effective working relationships between trustees, senior staff (if any), staff and volunteers.

Further information for trustees can be found in the guidance Protecting Charities from abuse for extremist purposes and managing the risks at events and in activities.

The full report is available on GOV.UK.

Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.
  3. Details of how the Commission reports on its regulatory work can be found on GOV.UK.

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