If that would lead to a closer scrutiny of the accounts and an investigation, as a private person I don't carry much weight apparently. Upon consultation with some learned friends the following answer can't be endorsed, we have no insight into the response from the charity itself to the commission, if any was indeed requested. The response we got from the Foundation itself was inconclusive/patronising. Their attention was drawn to various points, none of which they addressed, this was also reported to the CC. The guidelines set out (and mentioned below) by the Commission are, I believe not legally binding. Placation seems to be a major profession in the UK these days :-)
A next step indication would be helpful or as you suggest some way of encouraging the CC to proceed would be good. As I say, as a private person I cannot get anyone there to do anything apart from placate.
A question here is whether it is legal for a charity to spend over 70% of its funds on "fundraising" or the development of unrelated projects to those stated in the statutes. Are they bound to the statutes at all if trustees endorse expenditure?
From Charities Commission:
Thank you for your email of 21 March 2011.
I have carefully considered the contents of your email, my understanding of your email is that you have concerns regarding
It may help if I briefly set out how the Commission deals with complaints about charities.
When we receive a complaint we first of all assess its seriousness so that we can decide whether we need to intervene. Not every complaint requires our intervention; for example, we will not normally intervene simply because there is disagreement with a decision that the charity’s trustees have lawfully taken, even if it is an unpopular one. The Commission will not take forward complaints where a person disagrees with decisions made by the trustees and those decisions have been properly made within the law and the provisions of the charity’s governing document.
The fulfilment of Mr ***** wishes is a matter for the trustees. If you have concerns that Mr ****** wishes are not being fulfilled by the trustees then you should raise these with the trustees.
You state that you would be “interested to know what proportion of spending should have been with respect directly to charitable activity”. Each charity is dealt with on its own individual merits. Due to the diversity within the charitable sector it is not possible to issue guidelines on the percentage of funds that should be spent on direct charitable expenditure. The proportion of costs allocated to direct charitable expenditure is for the trustees to determine, in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice.
In view of my comments above, it appear that the Commission cannot intervene in the concerns outlined in your email. I realise that my response will be disappointing for you but I do hope that you can appreciate our position here that we simply cannot become involved.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX exactly vocabulary like "Judicial Review" which I am missing.
Would it be possible to get a yes/no answer to the question as to whether it is legal for a large percentage of funds to be allocated to whatever Trustees see as fitting. Taking that CC recommendations are not legally binding but non-adherance thereto may just result in the charity being struck off the register after the fact, without recourse?
If the answer to that (as I fear) may be a yes. Then there will be no point in criticising any charity as goodness knows public ridicule doesn't even count for anything these days.
I will look forward to your answer and as a result either look for pro-bono UK lawyers who may do something to help prevent this kind of thing, or, go away and form a charity to help feed the poor and invite you all out for dinner with the donations? :-)
Sorry for delay (I have a day job) :-)
I spent some time reading the Charities act and presume that the complaint would be against Chapter 4 where funds have not been applied to public benefit.
Procedure as follows:
Collect correspondence with charity outlining my concerns and the responses which do not address them.
Collect complaints to Charities Commission and their responses.
Find a barrister/solicitor who will file a Judicial Review of the decision of the Charities Commission and ask for a deeper enquiry into the destination of the spending.
If you are fine with this I am happy and glad to have made some progress formulating a way forwards?
Thank you very much indeed!