Charity Commission opens inquiry into poverty relief charity

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An international poverty charity has become the subject of a Charity Commission statutory inquiry, which is aimed at investigating the organisation's "continuing failure" to provide justification for its expenditure and adequately manage conflicts of interest.

According to a statement published on the website of the charity regulator for England and Wales in May, concerns over how the Nottingham-based charity Insaan Relief used its funds and unmanaged conflicts of interest were raised back in late 2012, which prompted a probe into the organisation's records and books. The commission paid the charity two visits in 2013 and has been increasingly worried about its persisting inability to "properly account for the charitable expenditure of the charity and properly manage conflicts of interest." The inquiry into Insaan Relief, which aims to help relieve poverty, distress and suffering for people across the globe, was opened on 3 February.

The statutory inquiry will investigate whether the funds applied abroad have been used for charitable purposes, whether the trustees are exercising strong control over Insaan Relief and whether their decisions were robust enough. The regulator will also want to examine the extent to which the trustees have complied with their responsibilities and fulfilled their obligations, whether they managed conflicts of interest properly and investigate the extent of mismanagement or misconduct on the part of the trustees.

The commission said that once the investigation closes, it will publish a report detailing the issues examined and the actions undertaken as part of the inquiry and its outcomes.

Allegations of mismanagement by trustees can be financially devastating for charities; the legal costs alone can run into thousands of pounds rapidly. Trustee indemnity insurance can cover against allegations of wrongdoing or mismanagement by trustees, covering the legal costs and expenses in respect of investigations you are required to attend. For further information, visit out trustee indemnity insurance page, or to find out more about staying on the right side of the Charity Commission, read our article on the Third Sector website.

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