The Charity Commission opened a compliance case in 2015 into Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash in Coventry and has now issued an official warning to the trustees under s 75A(1)(a) Charities Act 2011 on the grounds that “a breach of trust or duty or other misconduct or mismanagement has been committed by or in connection with the control and management of the charity as charity trustees”. This is only the second time the Commission has used its power to issue an official warning. The Commission finds the management of the charity defective in the following respects:
“1. The trustees have failed to work collectively and to implement agreed decisions.
2. They have also failed to make decisions which are in the interests of the charity only.
3. The trustees have failed to manage charity property responsibly or in accordance with agreed policies and procedures. In particular:
a. failing to use Charity premises in accordance with the agreed policies and procedures.
b. failing to ensure proper and fair access to its premises.
c. undertaking unauthorised expenditure on activities and failing to take adequate steps to address the risks posed to charity’s assets.
d. failing to take adequate steps to prevent the circulation of views or material that were or could be seen to be inappropriately political or extremist in nature on its premises.
4. Exposing members of the charity and its trustees to an undue risk of harm by virtue of repeated disruption on charity premises such that a police presence has been required on a regular basis.”
Civil Society reports a spokeswoman for the Commission as follows:
“The trustees have been unable to collectively manage and act in the best interests of the charity due to internal differences. The charity appears to have failed to adhere to charity law duties … The trustees have also failed to take reasonable steps to prevent physical, verbal or threatening behaviour on the charity’s property or towards members of the charity, and breaches of the peace have led to regular police attendance at the Gurdwara. This represents a failure to comply with the trustees’ legal duty to avoid exposing the charity’s assets, beneficiaries or reputation to undue risk.”
The official warning adds that the charity has not followed the Commission’s regulatory advice and guidance and that a continuing failure to address the issues “may lead to further regulatory action being taken by the Commission”.