Watchdog investigates Birmingham charity over governance failings

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Birmingham Education Trust over concerns about the management of the charity by its trustees, including whether its financial controls are adequate

The charity funds and operates a school in Birmingham, which includes the promotion of the teaching of Islam to Muslim girls.

The Commission opened a compliance case into the charity in March 2019, to examine its repeated failure to comply with its statutory duty to file its accounts and annual returns.

The case then identified wider concerns, including that the charity was operating in breach of its governing document in having only two trustees who were husband and wife. This also raised concerns about potential unmanaged conflicts of interest.

The Commission issued the trustees with an action plan to address and rectify the concerns, but says the trustees have failed to demonstrate progress, and as a result it has opened a statutory inquiry.

This will examine whether the charity has been operating for exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit in furtherance of their charitable objects.

It will also assess whether the financial controls of the charity are adequate, and their funds have been properly expended and can be accounted for.

In addition, the watchdog will assess whether the trustees have complied with their legal duties in respect of their administration, governance and management of the charity, and the legal obligations for the content, preparation and submission of the charity’s accounts and other information or returns.

The Commission is also looking at how potential conflicts of interest and connected party transactions have been managed

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.

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