Three charities removed from Charity Commission's 'double defaulters' inquiry

Bournemouth Borough Council has now filed accounts for the charities of which it is a trustee, including the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum
Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Three charities that share Bournemouth Borough Council as a corporate trustee have been removed from a Charity Commission inquiry into 'double defaulters' after they filed their overdue accounts.

Last week, the commission announced that it had opened a 'class inquiry' into 12 charities with a last-known annual income of £500,000 or more, because they had failed to file their annual documents for two or more of the past five years. 

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, which runs a gallery from a listed building in Bournemouth, Dorset, and Lower Central Gardens and the Five Parks – two charities that oversee public land in the Bournemouth area – were originally included in the commission’s inquiry. 

A spokeswoman for the commission confirmed that Bournemouth Borough Council, which acts either as sole trustee or as one of a small group of trustees for the charities, had filed the missing documents on Monday.

According to the commission’s online register, the annual accounts for 2010/11, 2011/12 and 2012/13 for all three of the charities were received on 30 September. The 2010/11 accounts were 608 days late, the register says. 

Although the accounts have been submitted, it is not yet possible to view them online.

Another of the charities originally named in the inquiry, the Grace Church Christian Centre in White Cross, Hereford, was removed from the inquiry last week after it filed its missing documents on 26 September.

The regulator’s inquiry into the eight remaining charities is ongoing, the commission spokeswoman said.

In a statement issued last week, the regulator said that the first stage of its inquiry involved sending a "formal legal direction to trustees", ordering them to meet their reporting requirements within a set period of time.

If the trustees fail to comply, a referral could be made to the police for criminal prosecution "unless it is evident that the relevant trustees took all reasonable steps for securing compliance", the statement said.

In addition, the commission said it could appoint an interim manager at the charity and recover the costs of the appointment from the charity’s trustees.

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