Christian rehabilitation centre faces Charity Commission inquiry

The commission has opened the inquiry into Livingstone House Mother of the Harvest Ministries after repeated failures to file accounts and concerns about its governance

Livingstone House Mother of the Harvest Ministries headquarters in Birmingham
Livingstone House Mother of the Harvest Ministries headquarters in Birmingham

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into a Christian residential rehabilitation centre in the West Midlands because of concerns about the charity’s administration.

The commission opened the inquiry into Livingstone House Mother of the Harvest Ministries last month after it failed to submit its accounts on time over a three-year period.

The charity, which is based in Birmingham and rehabilitates people with alcohol and drug addictions using a Christian 12-step programme, failed to submit its accounts on time for the financial years ending 31 December 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The failure to submit the 2014 and 2015 accounts on time led to the charity being added to the regulator’s class inquiry in February 2017.

The commission said that it had offered regulatory advice to the trustees about the importance of submitting accounts on time after the 2014 and 2015 accounts were filed late, but despite this the accounts for 2016 were not filed on time.

According to the 2015 accounts, which are the most recent to be published on the commission’s website, the charity had an income of £524,414 and spent £537,060.

The commission was also concerned that from January 2016 there were only two trustees at the charity, and only one trustee from 27 April 2016 to 16 May 2017.

The charity’s governing document states that the number of trustees must not fall below three, which the commission said could mean the trustees have been acting while inquorate.

Potential conflicts of interest have also been identified, with a lack of clarity over whether some connected party transactions were properly authorised, the commission said.

The commission’s inquiry will therefore focus on whether the trustees have complied with their legal duties, the administration of the charity, whether the trustees have adequately managed the charity’s finances and whether they have complied with previous regulatory guidance.

A spokesman for the charity denied any wrongdoing and said the inquiry was mainly focused on the accounts being late over the past few years.

The spokesman said the charity was cooperating with the commission.

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