Welsh environmental charity investigated over reporting

The Charity Commission has opened a new statutory inquiry into CWM Harry Land Trust Ltd, an environmental charity whose objects also include the education and rehabilitation of prisoners and ex-offenders, amid concerns about reporting failures

The charity has failed to file financial information in line with statutory requirements for three consecutive years, raising serious concerns over the charity’s administration, accountability and transparency.

Its accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2016, which were filed 974 days late, show income of £370,851 and expenditure of £448,577. Expenditure exceeded income in both the preceding years, while the account for 2017 and 2018 remain outstanding.

The Commission also has concerns over a number of related party transactions, including payments to a trustee and two loans to the charity from a company where one trustee was a director.

The charity, based in Wales, was previously included in a class inquiry in November 2018, which was opened to examine charities which had repeatedly failed on their reporting requirements.

As part of that class inquiry the Commission issued an order directing the trustees of the charity to provide information by specified dates, including the charity’s annual accounts for the financial years ending 31 March 2016 and 2017. However, the trustees failed to comply.

The latest inquiry will examine the extent to which the trustees are complying with their legal duties in respect of their administration, governance and management of the charity. It will seek to identify whether any failings or weaknesses identified in the administration of the charity during the inquiry were a result of misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees.

The Commission will also consider whether the trustees responsibly managed the charity’s resources and financial affairs, in particular with respect to how they have managed conflicts of interest and/or loyalty.

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.

By Pat Sweet

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