New Charity Investigation: Action Aid For Animals
The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Action Aid for Animals, registered charity number (1133543).
The charity has objects to relieve the suffering of animals in need of care and operates in Croatia and Romania.
The Commission has been engaging with the charity in relation to its governance since 2012. On 18 November 2015 in an attempt to regularise the charity’s governance and financial management the charity was issued with an action plan by the Commission to improve the charity’s governance which included filing the charity’s accounts which have been overdue since 2013. The trustees have subsequently failed to comply with the Commission’s action plan and the annual accounts remain outstanding. It has also been identified that the charity is not operating in accordance with its governing document and may be inquorate.
The continued failure of the trustees to properly administer their charity, gives rise to serious regulatory concerns that the trustees are not acting in accordance with their legal duties and responsibilities and that the charity’s assets are at significant risk. As a result the Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the charity on 27 July 2016 to address those concerns.
The inquiry will examine:
the financial controls, management and application of charitable funds, property and assets belonging to the charity
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the administration, governance, management and administration of the charity by the trustees, particularly whether the trustees have acted prudently and exercised reasonable care in respect of the day-to-day running of the charity
whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees and consider whether remedial regulatory action is necessary
whether the charity’s objects are being met and the charity is operating for the public benefit
The Commission has also made Orders under section 76 of the Charities Act to freeze the charity’s bank accounts. This prevents the trustees and the charity’s bankers from parting with any of the charity’s property without the permission of the commission. In addition, Orders have also been issued which restrict the trustees and individuals acting as trustees of charity from entering into certain transactions relating to the charity’s operations overseas.
It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the Commission are available on GOV.UK.
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