The charity was registered in 1995 and operates a school providing Islamic and national curriculum education to children and young people.
The Commission’s inquiry found that the charity’s trustees were responsible for serious mismanagement and misconduct in the administration of the charity which placed its funds, property and beneficiaries at significant risk.
The inquiry was opened in 2018 after an altercation on the charity’s premises, which required the police’s intervention. It involved one of the Charity’s then trustees, who was also the school’s safeguarding lead.
As a result of the incident, the police searched the charity’s premises and seized over £400,000 in cash, which was being kept in a wooden chest on the property. The Commission has concluded that keeping charitable funds in cash and storing them unsafely was mismanagement and put the funds at risk.
The trustees were responsible for governance failures which meant that the school did not adhere to the standards expected of independent schools. Since 2013 Ofsted has rated the school, the operation of which is the charity’s primary activity, as either ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ and highlighted governance concerns in its 2019 report. Trustees are required to ensure their charity complies with the law as it relates to the charity’s activities, in this case the independent school standards.
Over the course of the Commission’s engagement with the charity, there have been improvements in the school’s compliance with independent school standards. An Ofsted inspection in May 2021 concluded that the school met all standards examined in that inspection. Similarly, the trustees demonstrated improved internal financial controls, including moving away from a heavy reliance on the use of cash.
The Commission disqualified two former trustees and issued two other trustees with Official Warnings in relation to their conduct. The Official Warnings were issued because their conduct resulted in a breach of duty and misconduct and/or mismanagement in the Charity’s administration.
Tim Hopkins, Assistant Director of Investigations and Inquiries at the Charity Commission said:
The public rightly expect high standards of governance and integrity from charity trustees. Unfortunately, our inquiry has found the former trustees of Darul-Uloom School London did not meet those standards.
Our inquiry has taken robust action to address wrongdoing and harm, including in disqualifying two former trustees. I hope that the current trustees learn the lessons from what has happened and ensure that the charity is more securely and effectively managed so it can deliver the best possible services for its beneficiaries.