A Christian charity working with children in Africa, which was censured for allowing trustees’ family members to fill in signed blank cheques and for failing to provide adequate care for children visiting the UK, has improved its practices, according to a Charity Commission report.
The commission initially investigated the charity – the Association for Reaching and Instructing Children in Africa – in 2007 and published a report on its failings in 2008.
The report said one of the charity’s three trustees left blank cheques for its bank account in the care of her adult daughter.
It also said the charity had arranged visits for African children to the UK and accommodation with host families, but had not carried out Criminal Records Bureau checks on the families and did not have a child protection policy.
Following the investigation, the regulator asked the charity to make a series of improvements to its practices.
The commission’s latest report on the charity, published yesterday, says the regulator found when it returned in 2009 that "little progress had been made by the trustees in addressing the issues and carrying out the actions identified and required".
However, it says checks carried out more recently showed that trustees no longer signed blank cheques and an adequate child protection policy had been drawn up.
It adds that the charity’s lack of an audit trail for spending in Uganda had been rectified because the trustees had started to ask for receipts for all spending in the country.
The report says: "The commission recognised that some of the required actions took longer to address, due to where the charitable activity was taking place.
"However, some required actions were easier to achieve and should have been actioned sooner than they were."