Interim manager for charity with governance failings

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager, Geoff Carton-Kelly, a partner with FRP Advisory, to Jole Rider Friends after it suspended trustees following continued concerns about the charity’s governance

The move follows the opening of a statutory inquiry into the charity, which is based in Gloucestershire, in September 2017 to address significant regulatory concerns, which included outstanding annual accounts and concerns about potentially unauthorised payments to trustees and inadequate stock control.

The charity’s objectives are to advance education, in particular by providing or assisting in the provision of facilities and equipment at educational establishments in Africa. Its income over the past four years has varied between £100,000 and £200,000.

The Charity Commission has previously issued orders to restrict expenditure by the trustees. The trustees appealed the orders, but this was dismissed by the Charity Tribunal, who agreed that there had been misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of the charity as a result of the unauthorised remuneration paid to two trustees, failure to engage with regulatory advice and failure to file accounts on time.

Although the trustees have since submitted the outstanding accounts, the Commission continues to have serious regulatory concerns regarding the charity’s governance, in particular relating to management of conflicts of interest and risk to the charity’s property.

On 2 January 2019, both the trustees of the charity were therefore suspended from their roles as charity trustees, and the inquiry has made an order to appoint Carton-Kelly as interim manager. He will take over full control of the day-to-day management and administration of the charity until the Commission makes a further order.

The Commission’s investigation continues and it intends to publish a report setting out its findings on conclusion of the inquiry in due course.

Report by Pat Sweet

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