Regulator begins inquiry into homelessness charity amid concerns about political activity

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a homelessness charity amid concerns about its political activity. 

The commission said yesterday that it was examining the management and administration of the Devon-based Humanity Torbay, which supports homeless people by running drop-in advice sessions or providing food and clothing. 

The regulator said it had been in contact with the charity’s trustees on “several occasions” in the past year after some posts on the charity’s social media channels did not appear to comply with the commission’s guidance on campaigning and political campaigning. 

“Despite the commission issuing formal regulatory advice to the trustees about the need to ensure personal political views are kept separate from the charity, it has received further complaints about political content being posted online, including on the charity’s Facebook page,” the commission said in a statement. 

“The regulator is concerned that the trustees of Humanity Torbay do not have sufficient oversight or control of the charity’s social media content, which should only be used to promote the charity’s objects and services.”

The commission said it would also look into the trustees’ management of the charity’s resources and financial affairs, their compliance with their general legal duties and responsibilities, and whether the charity’s governance was fit for purpose. 

It said it had been examining the charity’s finances after an independent examiner’s report in the accounts for the financial year ending 31 March 2019 highlighted concerns about the charity’s accounting records.

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