Charity Commission
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New Charity Inquiry: Devon Charitable Trust

Regulator freezes charity accounts following concerns over unexplained transactions.

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Devon Charitable Trust (1106720), a Harrow-based charity which exists to relieve poverty and advance religion throughout the UK and world-wide. The inquiry opened on 14 May 2019.

The Commission has been looking into the charity since August 2018 to examine serious concerns about its management and administration. The regulator’s concerns escalated into a formal statutory inquiry when analysis of the charity’s bank statements revealed that over £850,000 of charitable funds had been transferred to the bank account of one of the charity’s trustees.

It remains unclear as to why the transfers were made or how they furthered the charity’s purposes. Furthermore, the Commission has concerns that donations are not being deposited into the charity’s accounts appropriately. The regulator has therefore frozen the charity’s bank account to safeguard the remainder of the charity’s funds.

Amongst other concerns, including the failure to file its accounts on time, the Commission also has concerns about the impact of potential conflicts of interest on the trustee board.

The Commission’s inquiry will examine:

  • the extent to which the trustees have and are complying with their legal duties in respect of the administration, governance and management of the charity;
    • adhere to the principles of trustee decision-making, including managing conflicts of interest
    • safeguard the charity’s assets
    • prepare and file the charity’s accounting information
  • the extent to which the charity has compiled with previously issued regulatory guidance

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are 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 the about us page on GOV.UK.
  2. Search for charities on our check charity tool.
  3. Section 52 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Commission the power to require a person by order to provide the Commission with information about a charity which is relevant to the discharge of the Commission’s functions
  4. Section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act 2011 allows the Commission to ‘freeze’ charitable funds or property or otherwise not to part with property without the Commission’s prior consent.

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Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-charity-inquiry-devon-charitable-trust

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