Four of 12 charities that repeatedly failed to file their annual accounts did not provide any reason for their non-compliance when investigated by the Charity Commission, a series of new inquiry reports from the regulator shows.
The commission has today published inquiry reports into a dozen charities that were part of the commission’s class inquiry into charities that had not filed annual accounts and returns for two or more of the past five years.
The inquiry began last September when 12 charities with a last-known income of more than £500,000 were placed under investigation. Other charities have since been added to the class inquiries, while others have been removed after complying with the accounting requirements.
The inquiry has also moved down into the £250,000 to £500,000 income bracket. The 12 charities were among a batch of 33 added to the inquiry in April and May this year.
No reason for the failure to comply with filing requirements is given in the cases of the Leeds-based Muslim community charity Al-Hassan Education Centre, the Orthodox Jewish religious charity Beis Aharon Trust, the Jewish charity Bfon Trust and the yoga and health charity Patanjali Yog Peeth (UK) Trust.
A fifth charity, the Leicester community centre Belgrave Baheno Peepul Centre, attributed its non-compliance for the most recent year to a change in its accounting year, but did not provide a reason for non-compliance for the year before.
Of the other seven charities, the evangelical Christian charity Morris Cerullo World Evangelism said it failed to file its accounts because of the additional requirements of its trading subsidiary and Bridgegate Drugs Advice Service (Peterborough) said its non-compliance was because it ceased charitable activities, although it had not informed the commission of this and remains listed as an active charity on the commission’s website.
Meanwhile, the gynaecological cancer research charity the Hope Trust (Yorkshire) said its non-compliance was because of inadequate record-keeping; The British School, Tehran, had issues with its password for online Charity Commission services; and the report into medical research charity the St Thomas Lupus Trust describes one trustee misleading the rest of the board into thinking the accounts had been transferred to an external accounting firm.
The Orthodox Jewish grant-maker Chevras Machzikei Mesifta said it would have complied more quickly after the inquiry was opened had it not been for an office closure, and another grantmaker, Vyoel Moshe Charitable Trust, said its trustees were too busy.
Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the commission, said: "Some of the charities in the class inquiry have stopped giving excuses for defaulting on their accounts and we hope this means that our message is getting through – there is no valid reason for late accounts.
"We also hope that trustees have heard the message from the public that what drives their trust most is that charities ensure that a reasonable proportion of donations gets to the end cause."
There are 20 charities remaining the class inquiry.