Probe into former Mencap charity that has not filed accounts for four years

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into a charity supporting people with learning disabilities because of concerns that its assets might be at risk.

The commission said it had opened a statutory inquiry into Rossendale Open House after trustees failed to comply with two previous action plans agreed with the regulator.

The charity, which has not filed any accounts in four years, was previously known as Rossendale Valley Mencap and was affiliated with the national Mencap organisation, which is formally known as the Royal Mencap Society.

Rossendale Valley Mencap disaffiliated and changed its name in January 2018, one month after the commission first contacted its trustees.

The inquiry will consider whether Rossendale Open House has enough “willing and capable” trustees to manage its work, whether its assets “have been lost and/or misapplied, and whether the board has complied with its legal and safeguarding responsibilities”.

Only one trustee is listed for Rossendale Open House on the Charity Commission website. The charity’s income was £23,900 and it spent £19,700 in the year to the end of September 2016, the last year it filed its accounts.

The next set of accounts is more than 1,330 days overdue, according to the charity’s entry on the Charity Commission’s online register.

The charity did not respond to a request for comment.

Kate Oldroyd, network manager for Mencap, said the national charity was pleased that the Charity Commission had opened the inquiry.

“We hope that by exercising further powers this will enable a full investigation into the issues raised concerning Rossendale Valley Mencap, and ensure that as a charity it is serving the best interests of the people it is supporting,” she said.

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