Four 'double-defaulting' charities released from Charity Commission inquiry

The charities, including the Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Peter in London, have supplied the necessary documents to the regulator

Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Peter
Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Peter

Four charities that had failed to file annual reports and accounts for at least two years have been released from an ongoing Charity Commission inquiry after supplying the necessary documents.

Reports on the four charities, published by the commission today, conclude that their trustees were in breach of their legal obligations to file information with the regulator.

The commission’s class inquiry into "double-defaulting" charities opened on 20 September, with 12 charities that had last-known incomes of more than £500,000 a year. On 11 November, a further dozen charities, with incomes of between £250,000 and £500,000, were added to the inquiry.

The commission has removed the four charities from the inquiry because they have filed their outstanding documents; 11 remain part of the investigation.

The regulator said it would next month publish reports on a further four charities that have been removed from the inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the commission said it intended to continue working down the income brackets and add more non-compliant charities, but was not able to confirm when the next stage would begin.

According to the report published today about the Parochial Church Council of the Ecclesiastical Parish of St Peter in Notting Hill, London, the charity said in a letter to the regulator that the problems were "related to the involvement of our auditors and our communication with them". It also said the church "has complete confidence in our treasurer and finance team".

The report on the Apostolic Faith Mission International Ministries UK says the charity attributed its non-compliance in 2011 and 2012 to problems with "management, due to a centralised structure whereby people accountable are far from the activities".

The Society of Friends of the Torah, its report says, did not file because it had ceased to be active, with its assets and activities transferred to a charity in the form of a limited company called Society of Friends of the Torah, which did file on time in the one financial year it was required to since its foundation. The commission said it should be informed when a charity dissolves and that the accounts were still required.

The Islamic charity the Azhar Academy said it had not filed on time because the charity had been "extremely active with major new projects" that kept its trustees busy. it pointed out that once notice to comply was served it was able to do so quickly.

Michelle Russell, head of investigations and enforcement at the commission, said that none of the excuses were valid.

"Not submitting accounts or submitting accounts late raises serious concerns with the commission," she said.

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