Charity Commission hands action plan to health charity

The regulator received a complaint about the Sound Foundation's use of charitable property and its relationship with a company that practices 'esoteric medicine'

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has given the trustees of a health charity an action plan to address concerns about the management of conflicts of interest and the extent to which it is being operated for public benefit.

The commission said it gave the trustees of the Sound Foundation an action plan in October with which they must comply by 1 May.

The charity’s entry on the commission’s website says it aims to promote "wellbeing through sound".

A spokeswoman for the commission said its action came after a complaint was made about the charity in May 2013 over the "the extent to which the trustees were using charity property for charitable purposes".

She said that the complaint also "referred to relationships between the Sound Foundation and other organisations, one of which was Universal Medicine".

Universal Medicine UK is a company based in Frome, Somerset, which practises "esoteric medicine", according to its website. Universal Medicine also works in Australia and Vietnam, the website says.

The commission spokeswoman said that after receiving the complaint it contacted the trustees of the Sound Foundation to find out to what extent they operated the charity in accordance with its governing documents and for public benefit, and to what extent they managed conflicts of interest.

"We have met the trustees and they have submitted comprehensive information to us in the course of our engagement and have been cooperative," she said.

"We issued the trustees with an action plan in October and intend to monitor their progress against the plan. The trustees will need to satisfy the commission that they have complied with their action plan by 1 May 2014."

She could not say more about the contents of the action plan until the deadline for implementation of it had passed. 

The Sound Foundation’s accounts, published on the commission’s website, show an income of slightly more than £1.2m and an expenditure of £77,829 for the year ending 30 September 2012. The Sound Foundation Training Centre in Tytherington, Frome, was completed during that financial year.

Sara Williams, a trustee of the Sound Foundation, said: "The board of trustees understand and accept in full that it is a matter of due process that any organisation receiving a complaint is obliged to act on receipt of said complaint. In accordance and in honour of this, we have and will continue to lay the Sound Foundation’s operations open to a fair, unbiased and proportionate enquiry that is evidence-based and meets the standard required of public bodies."

Sound Foundation is different from Sound Foundation Somerset, which is a music education hub funded by the department for education and Arts Council England, Sound Foundation Music, which is a charity working in Uganda, and the youth music charity EMI Music Sound Foundation.

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