Royal Albert Hall told it might be breaking the rules

Allowing members to sell on tickets could be 'more than incidental' private benefit, says Charity Commission

Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall

The Charity Commission has told trustees of the Royal Albert Hall that its practice of allowing members to sell their tickets for major events online might breach its guidance by allowing too great a benefit to private individuals.

A story in The Times newspaper this morning says 1,200 seats at the venue are held on 999-year leases, and these are owned by about 320 individuals and businesses.

It says some members that hold these seats have sold tickets for events online, and one advertised a 12-seat box for the Last Night of the Proms online for nearly £20,000.

A Royal Albert Hall spokeswoman confirmed the figures were correct but declined to comment further.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said it decided after being approached about the issue by the Royal Albert Hall’s trustees in 2009 that the practice meant members might be receiving a private benefit that was "more than incidental".

The Charity Commission’s guidance document, Charities and Public Benefit, says: "Any private benefits must be incidental. Private benefits will be incidental if it can be shown that they directly contribute towards achieving the charity’s aims and/or are a necessary result or by-product of carrying out those aims."

The commission spokeswoman said the regulator was satisfied that the Royal Albert Hall’s trustees had "put in place appropriate plans to address these issues, including the level of benefit received by seat holders".

She said the regulator was continuing to monitor the charity’s progress in implementing these plans.

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