Regulator to investigate London charity over risk to funds

The Charity Commission has opened a class statutory inquiry into two London-based charities, Future Vision Care and Future Vision Consortium, over concerns that charitable funds may be at risk

Future Vision Consortium’s objects include the relief of poverty, sickness and the advancement of education to the British public as well as Somalia, by providing grants, advocacy, advice and translation services. The charity is connected to Future Vision Care, an unregistered charitable company which provides professional care services to the elderly and needy.

Despite being unregistered, Future Vision Care falls under the Commission’s jurisdiction as it has been set up for exclusively charitable purposes and is subject to the control of the High Court’s charity law jurisdiction.

In October 2017, the registered charity was included in the Commission’s double defaulter class statutory inquiry, which examines charities which have defaulted on their annual reporting obligations two or more times in the last five years. The charity subsequently submitted accounts showing income of around £180,000 per year. However, these accounts are invalid as they are for Future Vision Care, not Future Vision Consortium. Both charities have the same trustees.

The financial information submitted to the Commission caused serious concerns about the management and governance of both charities by the trustees. In particular there are concerns that charitable funds are being placed at risk. it is unclear from the accounts how Future Vision Consortium has utilised its funds, and Future Vision Care’s accounts do not provide a clear explanation of how its objectives are furthered for the benefit of the public. Concerns about unauthorised payments to a trustee were also raised, and it was not possible to determine whether the charities were being operated separately.

As a result of its ongoing failure to submit valid accounts and in light of the concerns listed, Future Vision Consortium was removed from the double defaulter class inquiry and placed with Future Vision Care into a separate class inquiry under s46 of the Charities Act 2011.

This inquiry will examine the extent to which the trustees have complied with their duties in relation to winding up a charity which has ceased to operate, as well as their obligations for the preparation and filing of the charities accounts and other information or returns.

It will also consider whether the trustees have carried out activities in furtherance of the charities’ objects and ensured that the charities are operating for the public benefit; and whether they have properly authorised and monitored any benefits and/or remuneration to trustees and/or connected parties.

The Commission will look at the extent to which any weaknesses in the management and administration of the charities identified by the inquiry were a result of misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees.

Once the inquiry has concluded, the Commission will publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were.

Report by Pat Sweet

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