Regulator escalates probe into Birmingham charity for deaf community due to continued concerns

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into One Community Organisation over serious financial and governance concerns.

The charity’s purpose is to deliver support to the deaf community and those with special needs, by organising fundraising events to support online lectures and education programmes for these groups.

In April 2020, the Commission opened a compliance case after it identified inconsistencies with the information the trustees had reported to the Commission about the charity. This included, for example, conflicting information about whether or not the charity owned property.

As part of this case, the Commission examined the charity’s finances which led to concerns that the trustees may have understated the charity’s income and expenditure for 2017 and 2018.

The Commission also identified concerns around potential unauthorised trustee payments. The charity’s bank statements showed over £200,000 of charity funds were transferred via online payments to a trustee’s private bank account. The purpose of these payments is not clear.

The Commission therefore escalated its case to a statutory inquiry in December 2020 to examine these matters further.

The scope of the inquiry is to examine concerns around the trustees’ management of the charity’s resources and financial affairs, compliance with their general legal duties and responsibilities, and whether any failings identified are a result of misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees. The Commission may extend this scope if further regulatory concerns emerge.

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. Reports of previous inquiries are available on GOV.UK.

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