Whistleblower dissatisfied with handling of complaint against charity

Robina Husain-Naviatti, who reported her former employer Forensic Therapies for alleged mismanagement of funds, says Charity Commission hasn't looked at accounts in detail

Robina Husain-Naviatti
Robina Husain-Naviatti

A charity whistleblower has called for the Charity Commission to reassess her complaint after it decided not to take action against her former employer.

Robina Husain-Naviatti reported Forensic Therapies, which provided counselling services in prisons until it closed in late 2010, to the commission for allegedly mismanaging funds in 2009.

The commission assessed the initial complaint and decided not to take further action. But the commission’s outcome review panel reopened the assessment.

This was completed on 23 March and the commission concluded there was not "sufficient justification" for it to take regulatory action, a commission spokeswoman said.

In response, Husain-Naviatti, a former deputy director of Forensic Therapies, sent another letter of complaint to the commission. She told Third Sector that she did not think the commission had looked at the evidence properly or thoroughly examined the charity’s business report. "They haven’t looked into the documents I sent them that are more detailed," said Husain-Naviatti. "They devoted one sentence to say ‘we’ve looked into the accounts’."

Husain-Naviatti said she believed the accounts for the Holloway Skills and Therapy Service, a Cabinet Office-funded project undertaken by Forensic Therapies, had been altered retrospectively by the charity, to account for missing funds.

In a letter of complaint to the commission, Husain-Naviatti said the business report showed that Cabinet Office funding for the Holloway Skills and Therapy Service was £80,000 a year, but she claimed that the amount was "actually £175,000 per annum".

During its assessment, the commission did not invoke legal powers that would have allowed it to access the charity’s full accounts. Husain-Naviatti argued that without doing so, it was impossible for the commission to judge whether the charity carried out its accounting properly. "Without legal powers they can’t state whether my claims were substantiated or not," she said.

A spokeswoman for the commission said: "Having considered the information provided from all parties, we do not feel that there is sufficient justification for us to take regulatory action. As a result, the commission has received a further complaint about how the case has been handled and is considering how best to deal with this."

A spokeswoman for Begbies Traynor, the company overseeing the charity’s liquidation, said the process could take up to a year to complete. The charity would remain registered with the commission until the liquidation is complete, a commission spokeswoman said.

Third Sector obtained no response from the telephone number or email address of the charity as listed with the commission.

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