Trustee received £150k in unauthorised benefit | Charities 'not transparent on public money' | 58 Brethren congregations register as charities

Plus: Charity chiefs appointed CBE | Court rejects ShelterBox founder's request to move fraud trial | Government consultations too short, says watchdog

The Charity Commission
The Charity Commission

The former trustee of an aid charity has been banned from acting as a company director or charity trustee for 12 years by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Mohammed Ashfaq, who was a trustee at Helping Hands for the Needy, was given the ban after it was found he and his family had received more than £150,000 in unauthorised private benefit from the charity.

Many of the largest charities in England and Wales are not transparent about how much public money they receive, according to the Centre for Policy Studies. A new report published by the right-leaning think tank says the 50 largest charities in England and Wales declare that they receive a total of £3.1bn of public money, but claims that the true figure could be more than double that.

Almost 60 congregations of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church have gained charitable status in the year since the Charity Commission agreed to register the Preston Down Trust. Both the commission and the PBCC, which adheres to a doctrine of separation, saw the PDT decision as a test case that could pave the way for other congregations to register as charities.

David Emerson, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Foundations, and Peter Holbrook, head of Social Enterprise UK, are among the voluntary sector figures to have been appointed CBE in the New Year Honours list. The same honour has been awarded to Virginia Beardshaw, chief executive of the children's communication charity I Can, Amanda Tincknell, chief executive of the Cranfield Trust, which provides pro bono management consultancy to voluntary sector organisations, and Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

The Old Bailey has rejected an application from Tom Henderson, the founder and former chief executive of the disaster relief charity ShelterBox, to have his trial for alleged fraud moved from London to Cornwall. Henderson, 64, from Helston, Cornwall, has been charged with three counts of fraud of abuse by position and one of attempted theft from the charity.

Government consultations are too short and the implementation of their findings is too slow, according to a report on the Compact carried out by the National Audit Office. The spending watchdog says that the proportion of central government consultations running for less than 12 weeks more than doubled between 2011 and 2013.

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