Thursday, 12 December 2013

Top issues for the Charity Commission which not surprisingly leave the rather well shod Hales exclusive brethren cult shaking in their shoes


Report shows fraud, financial abuse and financial mismanagement are common problems in charity regulator's case work

12 December 2013

Report of Charity Commission's investigations and compliance case work shows financial abuse and mismanagement were among the top issues last year

Fraud, financial abuse and financial mismanagement featured in nearly 80% of the Charity Commission's investigations into charities last year1, according to a report published by the regulator today.

23 of the Commission's 29 most serious investigations2 involved concerns linked to these issues, which also featured in over a third of the serious incidents reported by charities to the regulator (398 out of a total of 971) and in 43 whistleblowing reports about charities (out of a total of 98). In addition, fraud and theft featured in 45 operational compliance cases, and serious financial mismanagement or concerns about the misapplication of funds3 featured in 64 operational compliance cases.

The figures are cited in the Commission's annual report of its investigatory and compliance case work, Tackling abuse and mismanagement4, which sets out the regulator's approach to identifying and tackling serious abuse in charities, provides details of the volume and nature of its investigations and compliance case work and includes case studies.

The report reveals that serious governance failures also featured heavily in its case work. 24 of the Commission's investigations featured governance failures, of which 9 involved concerns about unmanaged conflicts of interest and trustee benefits and 6 involved concerns about breaches of governing document. Concerns about poor governance also featured in 78 operational compliance cases.

Sam Younger, the Commission's Chief Executive, says today's report shows that the Commission is getting tougher on dealing with non compliance and abuse in charities:

"By taking a tougher approach to non-compliance in charities and using our powers more frequently in cases which are the most serious, we can protect charity funds at risk and ensure we are better able to identify and deal with individuals who negligently or deliberately abuse charities, making them accountable to the regulator and in turn the public for their wrong doing. Those serious cases must be a top priority for us as regulator, as they are most damaging to the public trust and confidence on which all charities rely.

As the case studies in our report show, when problems arise in charities it is often the result of weak oversight by trustees or because one or two trustees are allowed to dominate inappropriately, resulting in mismanagement and misconduct. To prevent abuse, it is therefore vital that all trustees understand and take seriously their legal duties including to protect the funds and other property of their charity so that it can be applied for its intended purposes. This means ensuring that they exercise proper control over the charity's financial affairs. Trustees must also take all necessary steps to ensure there is no misuse of charity funds or assets. Trust alone is not good enough - trustees must take responsibility for overseeing their charity's work."

Tackling abuse and mismanagement also sets out ways in which the Commission is strengthening its approach to preventing, detecting and tackling serious abuse in charities.

It reports that the Commission has:

  • Toughened its approach to the use of statutory powers. The regulator now routinely uses its information gathering powers under the Charities Act 2011 to require trustees to provide information during statutory inquiries;
  • Launched a new Operations function monitoring team to follow up on operational compliance cases, checking that trustees have implemented the action plan and have followed the Commission's advice on how to put things right;
  • Updated its Memorandum of Understanding with HMRC, the tax regulator, making more specific the types of information the two agencies agree to exchange.

The Commission has been pressing for a number of years for extensions to its powers to prevent and tackle abuse in charities. The Commission welcomes the publication last week, by the Cabinet Office of proposals for extending and improving the Commission's compliance powers, including enhancing its powers to remove and disqualify trustees and to direct trustees to take certain steps.

Other key figures from this year's report include:

  • 216 - times the Commission used its statutory powers  
  • 1,513 - operational compliance cases opened
  • 1,232 - operational compliance cases  completed
  • 37 - statutory inquiries on-going as at 31 March 2013
  • 705 - operational compliance cases on-going as at 31 March 2013
  • 971 - serious incidents reported by charities
  • 98 - whistle blowing reports made by charities  
  • £138,686,060 - total income of charities overseen by Investigations and Enforcement in 2012-13
  • 1,539 - times the Commission formally exchanged information with other agencies through the statutory gateways
  • 171,662 - number of trustee checks undertaken

This year's report also includes a detailed section on the Commission's work to monitor and review charities' accounts. This year, the Commission reviewed 2,770 sets of charity accounts, including accounts reviewed as part of a random sample, and those reviewed as part of specific projects, such as reviewing accounts that had characteristics similar to those of the accounts of The Cup Trust.

- See more at: http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk//news/report-shows-fraud,-financial-abuse-and-financial-mismanagement-are-common-problems-in-charity-regulators-case-work/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CharityCommissionUpdates+%28Charity+Commission+updates%29#sthash.vNiRnnbr.dpuf


  1. "-Charities know what they have to do
    -The public know what charities do
    -Charities are held to account "

    Wonderful that groups like the Hales Exclusive Brethren will be held accountable. They are not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes with their current flurry of activity and their expensive publicity campaign. Why would a group of simple Christians require the services of a publicity company? It just doesn't pass the sniff test. Hopefully the Commission will look in depth at each and every one of their charities to determine whether there has ever been any public benefit. Methinks they will smell the rat in the woodpile.

    First England and Wales and then on to all of the other countries with similar charitable laws which aren't being enforced for groups which claim public charitable status.

  2. I rather like the suggestion in the title that the Hales Exclusive Brethren should be “shaking in their shoes”. They probably are - if not they probably should be.

    They are seemingly still in discussions with the Charity Commissioners regarding a way forward. The CC say, “Our discussions with the Preston Down Trust will centre on their willingness to make those changes needed to ensure the Trust is charitable and meets the public benefit requirement.” (http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/news/preston-down-trust-update-070213/).

    The EB practice a doctrine of Separation which disallows its members any social contact, prayer, worship, eating, drinking, marriage, etc., with a non-member. However, current EB members have told me that this doctrine is “not going to change”, and “we will never lower the standard”. So while the CC are looking for their willingness to make changes to ensure the Trust meets the public benefit requirement, the EB appear to be most unwilling to adjust one of their most crippling rules.

    Their supreme leader and Man of God, Bruce Hales, teaches his followers that they need to hate the world. There is no sign yet of him revising this teaching or apologising for it. He also teaches them that if they get too close to a non-member they will feel a sense of defilement. I have not seen or heard any sign of Mr Hales repudiating this teaching either. So a move in the direction of public benefit seems unlikely.

    Information about the EB is now readily available, thanks to the internet. The EB would probably like to close down providers of EB related material of which they have no control. But they will find it difficult to do so. If they were able to persuade one to stop publishing certain things, then there would possibly be a similar one set up in a matter of days that replaced what was missing. The blog that you are reading right now is one that the EB would probably like to see disappear.

    I am told by current EB members that they will win at the CC tribunal because their legal team have told them that they will. I have my doubts that a competent legal team would say such a thing without seeing the level of evidence of detriment and harm caused by EB practices, but they may have expressed a level of confidence. There is bucket-loads of credible evidence that is backed up by a plethora of written evidence including some self-condemning letters penned by EB members during the review, some choice ministry of past and present Men of God, and some wise and perceptive, first-hand witnesses.

    So the EB should be shaking in their boots. They can’t stop people publishing truth about them, they can’t stop witnesses testifying to substantial detriment and loss caused by them, they won’t change their practice of separation, and they won’t stop teaching that the world should be hated. I think that this means their days are numbered.

    So what happens next? If the CC stick to their guns then the Preston Down Trust will probably stay unlisted. The effect of this ruling will possibly have a knock-on effect with other EB Trusts. This could mean that EB Trusts have non-EB trustees appointed to ensure that all activities are charitable. Or EB assets could be transferred to the care of a similar Trust such as Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, Plymouth Brethren, or Quaker. Perhaps they should be quaking in their shoes.


  3. It would be ironic if their assets were transferred to the real Plymouth Brethren!!!
    The real version have years of experience of what charity means with many overseas missionaries and practical social assistance to the needy such as those with addictions nearer to home.

    1. Actually, as the EB apparently hold the same beliefs as mainstream churches, they should welcome the meeting rooms being handed to another trust. The congregation could still use the facilities, the Christian teaching would be mainstream so the same, only the trustees would be different people.

  4. In my view, it's the Hales Exclusive Brethren practice of separation that's the main obstacle to accepting that the Preston Down Trust operates for the public benefit.

    Bruce D Hales in Australia and Garth Christie in England are admirers and followers of James Taylor Jnr, leader of this group of Exclusive Brethren 1959-1970. It was James Taylor Jnr who gave the directive that Brethren were not to eat or drink with anyone outside their own fellowship. He wrote that "invariably" "uncleanness" comes out over the table of an outsider.

    He also pontificated about Christians in the denominations. He called them "spiritual fornicators" and commented that they were worse than the people whom the apostle Paul warned about in his letter to the church at Corinth in the mid first century AD - "I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard or robber. Do not even eat with such a one." (1 Corinthians 5:11)

    This group of Exclusive Brethren still adheres to James Taylor Jnr's teaching. They don't seem to contemplate the possibility that non-Brethren family members, Christians in other churches, non-Brethren neighbours and colleagues may actually never indulge in "uncleanness" at meals/in their lives or be fornicators of a worse kind than the apostle Paul indicated.

    I can't understand that these Exclusive Brethren are so unintelligent that they blindly follow these harmful directives of James Taylor Jnr - who (according to the evidence of taped and printed documents), at the end of his life was a drunkard, an abuser of women, unfaithful to his wife and capable of foul language in his public ministry.

    1. Good one Jill.

    2. From James Taylor Jr's ministry August 5 1970:

      Ques. Do you mean to say that this current matter has just not come up overnight, but the Lord is searching out something that's been hidden?

      J.T.Jr. Yes. Well, the previous chapters show that. The whole chapter 15 [of the OT book Numbers], it's very fine, God speaking about His purposes, but the underlying matter was this condition, which you can say is open brethrenism, O.B.s. Yes, they're order of the bums, I think!

  5. Thank you for your respectful and well educated comments Joan... I have also often pondered on the Exclusive Brethren now PBCC claiming that Scripture as a reason to practice separation, while having practiced and even still practicing at least some of those same list of sins themselves, and even often also encouraging them... it seems a little too much plank & speck for them to be so self-righteous.

    It would also be great for them to do some Biblical studies and understand the history and culture of the times (context) of that Scripture, so they understood what it meant, and how the prevailing Roman society used to act at mealtimes, for them to understand that it simply means to not engage in similar behaviour, such as dinner parties where the rich over-indulged in too much food & drink and which included drunken orgies with many sexual partners which was a kind of religious rite of the gods of Rome whom they served, plus gambling and the like, including ridiculing of authority. It is purely because of the EB/PBCC lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, that they determine them to mean things they do not and could not, as they did not exist when written. Although the sad thing is, as many of us could testify, a lot of the gatherings (feasts) of the EB/PBCC do still somewhat resemble some of these very traits, albeit maybe not quite so much the sexual immorality, but certainly the greed, drunkenness, robbery, idolatry and reviling, although their reviling is usually of those who have chosen to leave the group and who many even be choosing to follow Christ... seems a pretty slippery slope really.

  6. http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/consumer/article/-/20355515/charity-called-account/?cmp=fb

    Another case in another country where church charities are being called into question and rightly so, as no-one is or should be above the law. Belief in God is no excuse for breaking the law, in fact the Bible exhorts us to obey the authorities.