Charity Commission was 'secretive' over its Shaw Trust findings

Acevo's Stephen Bubb says the regulator should have published its findings

Stephen Bubb, head of chief executives body Acevo, has criticised the Charity Commission for declining to publish the findings of its seven-month investigation into governance and financial management at the Shaw Trust.

The findings were released to Third Sector last week following a request under the Freedom of Information Act. They showed that trustees received eight recommendations to improve governance, and were criticised for failing to withdraw from board decisions in which they had conflicts of interest.

"It's odd that the commission, whose job it is to promote good governance, did not publish its views," said Bubb. "It chose to keep them secret. This is not helpful."

The commission's probe into the Wiltshire-based charity, which helps disabled people into work, was prompted by the dismissal in July last year of Ian Charlesworth, then chief executive.

Charlesworth's concerns included the trust's organisational structure and, in particular, the merit of having both a chief executive and a director-general. Bubb said charities had a right to know what the commission thought of this structure.

The documents show that Beryl Hobson, head of the commission's large charities division, told the trust in December that a regulatory case report was "likely". Regulatory reports are published on matters of public interest where wider lessons could be learned.

But in March, when the commission concluded its investigations, no such report appeared. Instead the commission would say only that it had provided trustees "with advice and guidance regarding governance".

A commission spokeswoman said: "We did not believe there were issues that would have had a significant impact on the charity sector. There was also the potential for employment claims to be made, which we would not have wanted to prejudice."

The commission is due to meet the trust's board again in September.

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