May 23, 2016

Regulator rapped for its handling of long-running legal wrangle

A report prepared by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman said that the Charity Commission’s work on the case was “so poor that it amounted to maladministration.”

The Ombudsman recently upheld a number of complaints which had been lodged by the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO).

The charity had grown frustrated by the lengthy delays and often contradictory advice that the regulator had provided during a dispute connected to the sale of land.

The Charity Commission was ordered to apologise and pay a five-figure sum to the CISWO by way of compensation.

The report compiled following the complaints said: “From the evidence we have seen, it is clear to us that the commission failed to explain their views and reasons for their decisions properly.

“They contradicted themselves, sent confusing letters, they refused to clarify issues and they sent mixed messages to the CISWO on a continuous basis.”

In a statement, the Charity Commission said that it had endeavoured to make improvements but admitted that it had fallen short of the level of service that charities expect.

“We accept that our service in this case fell well below our usual standard and was unacceptably poor,” a spokesman said.

“The substantive part of this report relates to actions taken by the Commission some considerable time ago, but we would like to repeat our apologies to those involved and reassure charities and the public that we have already changed our systems and processes to avoid similar problems arising again.”

Royds has a wealth of experience advising charity clients on the laws and regulations affecting the sector. For further advice on these matters contact Tony Millson or Deanna Hurst.

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