Commission to look at financial controls at special school charity

The Charity Commission has opened a new statutory inquiry into Hope House School Ltd, a special school for children with autistic spectrum disorders, over concerns about the charity’s financial controls and governance

The Nottinghamshire-based charity was set up in 2012 and reported an income of around £900,000 in its accounts for the year ended 31 May 2016.

The inquiry follows a books and records inspection conducted by the Commission following an anonymous complaint which raised concerns about the charity’s governance and administration.

The visit raised a number of regulatory concerns. The inquiry will now examine whether the trustees have exercised sufficient oversight and control of the charity, and assess whether the financial controls of the charity are adequate and its funds have been properly expended solely in furtherance of its charitable objects.

It will also consider whether potential conflicts of interest and connected party transactions have been properly managed and whether there has been any unauthorised trustee benefit.

The Commission has also exercised temporary and protective powers to restrict the transactions that the charity can enter into to ensure that any funds expended are only in furtherance of the charity’s objects and closely monitored.

The Commission stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing. It will publish a report once its investigation has concluded detailing the issues it found and the actions and outcomes of the inquiry.

Report by Pat Sweet

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