Regulator finds mismanagement at Revelation Foundation
In a report published recently (09 October 2020), the Charity Commission was highly critical of the charity Revelation Foundation, after uncovering flaws in its structure and serious governance failings that amount to mismanagement by its trustees.
Revelation Foundation is involved in creating and broadcasting Christian content programmes for television.
The Commission opened an inquiry into the charity in 2014 following concerns raised by the public that the charity was being used for private advantage. The charity had recently moved most of its operations to Spain, and in doing so, had developed an overly complex operating structure.
The Commission found no evidence to support the allegation of private advantage, but its investigation instead exposed a series of governance failings on the part of the charity.
These failings included decision-making processes that were inadequate such as not obtaining professional advice before key decisions, badly managed conflicts of interest and poor financial oversight.
The regulator also found the charity’s founder Howard Conder, who had links to companies involved in the delivery of the charity’s activities and was a significant donor, held a disproportionate influence over the trustees.
As a consequence of the governance failures, the charity developed an unwieldy structure which placed a significant proportion of the charity’s assets beyond its direct control and therefore at risk.
Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations at the Charity Commission, recently said:
The public expects each charity to show that they are doing their bit to uphold public trust in charity more generally. This starts with trustees being able to clearly show how they are acting in their charity’s best interests and for its beneficiaries.
Our inquiry found the trustees of Revelation Foundation could not show why decisions were taken or how they had acted in their charity’s best interests and that of its beneficiaries. Instead they demonstrated weak governance and oversight and ultimately left themselves open to allegations they were making decisions in their own interests. Whilst our inquiry didn’t find evidence of this, our work does demonstrate the importance of good governance and transparency to prevent a charity being exposed to undue risk. We hope other charities will look to this as an example of why effective governance is so important.
The Commission appointed an interim manager to the charity in June 2015. The report acknowledges there was a significant delay during which the inquiry sought updates from the interim manager and the trustees’ concern that he had been in very limited contact with them. The interim manager was discharged in September 2018 on conclusion of his work.
The charity has, as a result of this inquiry, made many significant improvements to its governance arrangements, which includes Howard Condor stepping back from the charity and the trustees gaining a clearer understanding of their role and responsibilities.
The Commission will continue to monitor the charity.
Notes to Editors:
- When the charity moved to Spain many Christian broadcasters were operating from the country at the time and so this was not an unusual decision.
- The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its purpose is to ensure charity can thrive and inspire trust so that people can improve lives and strengthen society.
Press enquiries – office hours 0300 065 2123
Press enquiries – out of hours 07785 748787
Latest News from
Charity Commission to consult on updated responsible investment guidance18/01/2021 09:20:00
Commission to consult on revised guidance on responsible investments.
Regulator opens statutory inquiry into Nottingham poverty relief charity after disqualifying former trustee22/12/2020 10:20:00
The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into Action Hunger over serious financial and governance concerns.
Regulator concludes regulatory case into governance at the RSPCA21/12/2020 10:15:00
The Charity Commission has secured significant changes to the way the RSPCA is led and governed, following intensive regulatory scrutiny over a number of years.
Charity watchdog gives registered charities almost £200,000 from pair who set up fundraising pages16/12/2020 09:20:00
A Charity Commission inquiry, published yesterday, is highly critical of a pair who raised money for Rohingya refugees.
Regulatory action taken against former manager and trustee of Birmingham rehabilitation charity08/12/2020 13:38:00
The Commission has concluded that the initial trustees and former manager of a Birmingham rehabilitation charity failed to comply with their legal duties.
Donate your money to charities, not criminals, this Christmas08/12/2020 09:20:00
Action Fraud, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator are warning the public to remain vigilant when making charitable donations this Christmas.
Charity regulator criticises Buddhist charity for putting students at risk of harm23/11/2020 09:25:00
Inquiry found former trustees failed to recognise seriousness of allegations against spiritual leader
Regulator issues Official Warning to poverty relief charity over failures to manage conflicts of interest18/11/2020 09:20:00
Inquiry into Combined Funds Limited leads to improved governance.