Charity Commission publishes first statutory inquiry report

20 Jan 2015 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 22 Jan 2015

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has published its first statutory inquiry report into its investigation into Lough Neagh Rescue Ltd.

The Commission first gained its powers of investigation and enforcement almost four years ago and by the middle of December past, it had received almost 370 concerns about charities in Northern Ireland.  The Commission has in most cases successfully worked with the charities concerned via self-regulatory or regulatory enquiries by making recommendations to improve the governance arrangements and rectify issues.

There have however, been some concerns which have prompted a statutory inquiry which will only be opened where the Commission assesses that there is ‘serious and substantial risk to the assets or beneficiaries of a charity’.    This first statutory inquiry report illustrates the stringent powers that the Commission can use, from determining membership of a charity to permanently removing a trustee.

In an earlier report published by the Commission in December 2014 Lessons learned: Focus on charity trustees the Commission outlines its approach into looking into concerns and includes useful case studies for all charities to learn from.  It has identified four common themes which give rise to governance problems in charities: low trustee numbers, longevity of trustees, disqualified individuals and adherence to governing documents.

by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]