DAA Residential
Whats in Wapping

Turks Head Charity Commission investigation

Turks Head Charity Commission investigation

The investigation into the affairs of the Turks Head has been completed by the Charity Commission.

The Turks Head Company remains a registered charity.

Questions were raised after Whats in Wapping published an article on the Turks Head Company in October 2010 in which Jon Aldenton (a trustee) also responded to.

Owing to their nature we suspended further questions and comments until the Charity Commission investigation had concluded.

We understand from the trustees of the Turks Head Company that they will meet later this month to consider the recommendations made by the Charity Commission and a public statement made.

Recommendations to the Turks Head Company

The recommendations and guidance provided by the Charities Commission are not publicly available.

The Commission has deemed them exempt from disclosure and explains why in their response following requests for information.

You have requested “the current status of the Turks Head and if the investigation that was being carried out has completed, and its recommendations”. The Commission is treating your email as a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the Commission’s investigation into the affairs and activities of the charity known as The Turks Head Company has been completed and closed. The charity remains a registered charity.

The investigation was what the Commission terms as a Regulatory Compliance Case investigation. The Commission does have power under section 8 of the Charities Act 1993 to conduct statutory inquiries. A Regulatory Compliance Case investigation is not, however, a statutory inquiry conducted under that power. Although a Regulatory Compliance Case investigation seeks to address issues that are sometimes serious, the circumstances of this particular case were not considered to be sufficiently serious as to justify the opening of a statutory inquiry. The purpose of a Regulatory Compliance Case investigation is to investigate and establish the facts of the case and the extent of any problems, including any misconduct or mismanagement. Our ultimate aim is to stop any abuse, ensure compliance and put the charity back on a secure footing.

We completed and closed this particular investigation on the basis of providing a range of advice and guidance to the charity’s trustees relating to their future management and administration of the charity. The Commission holds on its files details of the recommendations included within that advice and guidance.

I have considered your request for details of those recommendations and concluded that this information is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.

Information is exempt from disclosure under section 31 (1) (g) of the FOIA if the disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the exercise by the Commission of its functions for any of the purposes set out in section 31 (2) of the FOIA. The functions to which the section applies are set out in section 31 (2) (a) – (c) and (f) – (h) and are:

· ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law;

· ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper;

· ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exist or may arise;

· protecting charities against misconduct or mismanagement in their administration;

· protecting the property of charities from loss or misapplication, and

· recovering the property of charities.

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and therefore requires the Commission to balance the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in non disclosure.

It might be said that in favour of disclosure is to ensure accountability and transparency of the charity, and also the Commission as regulator. On the other hand, the public interest in withholding the information would be to enable the Commission to engage effectively with the charity as the regulator.

The Commission can act most effectively when it has full co-operation from, and information is voluntarily provided, by the charity that is the subject of an investigation. During the course of its investigation of the above-named charity’s activities, the Commission had co-operation from the charity in the disclosure of information, albeit that it took some time for that to come to fruition; I refer further to this later in this letter. At all times, the information has been provided voluntarily by the charity.

The Commission is concerned that disclosure of information gathered in this way would be likely to prejudice the Commission in the exercise of the functions specified above. That is because, although we have statutory powers to gather the information, it would take additional time and resource to do so.

The risk is that if, as a result of the Commission disclosing information gathered during the course of its regulatory cases, charities become less willing to disclose information voluntarily and in full, the Commission would not be able to carry out its role of charity regulator as effectively; for example, because potential issues may not be highlighted or the process becomes more prolonged.

Therefore, in these circumstances, I am satisfied that the balance is in favour of withholding the information.

If you are unhappy with our response to your FOI request, have a complaint or wish to request a review of our FOI decision, you should write to: Charity Commission Direct by email to enquiries@charitycommission.gsi.gov.uk or by post to P.O. Box 1227, LIVERPOOL, L69 3UG. Please state what it is you are dissatisfied with, which will assist us when we review our response.

If you request a Decision Review you will be notified of our final decision. Please note that we will accept requests for a Decision Review up to a maximum of 3 months after the original decision. The 3 months will be calculated from the date on which you receive written notification of the original decision. You will be deemed to have received written notification on the day after the letter enclosing the decision was sent or the same day if the decision was sent by email.

If after this you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

I trust that this reply is of assistance to you.

Yours sincerely

Peter Darton (Charity Commission)

Further information and comments

We do not have further information but will publish any updates as soon as they are available. Please feel free to comment, but refer to Whats in Wapping’s updated commenting policy.

Tags: ,

  • Debbie Berg

    Interesting stuff here on the acquisition of the building for the benefit of the community, by a founder member on page 3: http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/uploadedFiles/NCVO/What_we_do/Sustainable_Funding/SFP_Resources/Asset%20Management%20SFP%20article.pdf

  • http://www.whatsinwapping.co.uk What’s in Wapping

    It wasn’t us who requested the original information, but per Paulie K’s comment below and others we’ve asked for a review of the original decision from the CC. They’ve replied “We aim to give you a full and clear response within fifteen working days from receipt of your email. We will ensure that our response is both accurate and appropriate. ”

    Will keep you updated on the response when we receive it.

  • http://www.paulbrockphotography.co.uk Brock

    who has lodged the appeal?

  • Geoff Juden

    I take note that an AGM has recently been held for The Turk’s Head, I presume that Aldenton will inform the people of St.Katharine’s & Wapping on the minutes.

    An appeal has been lodged on The Charity Commission’s Report.

  • Geoff Juden

    I have been privy to certain correspondence between The Charity Commission and persons interested in The Turk’s Head. They have staed there has been mismanagement. However in starting a charity The Charity Commission states that no person who is a trustee or in management position should in any way benefit themselves or a concern in which a trustee or a person in mangement of a charity should they have other interests, should those interests benefit. This has not been adhered to, as nearly £200,000 had been transfered to another interest

  • Paulie K

    No reason Vickie (or whoever requested the information) can’t appeal, or request a summary from the charity. I’d be curious if the CC investigated TH Environment Trust which as it has been de registered can’t be affected by a disclosure.

    I note with interest that the firm that prepares the Turk’s Head’s accounts was the auditor of TH Environment Trust. In the March 07 accounts for THET they include an emphasis of matter paragraph in the audit opinion on its viability as a going concern. However no disclosure in the Dec 07 Turks Head accounts is made. Essentially THET was running the Turks Head so this would be shared knowledge. Clearly I wouldn’t wish to make any insinuations and leave it to others to make their mind up.

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing what goes on in Wapping isn’t it? Or in this case didn’t go on of course :)

  • Debbieberg

    Hardly transparent. Don’t want to humiliate this bunch, but secrecy doesn’t inspire confidence. I still wonder how many of them actually live here, before they claim to act in our interest. They’ve never asked me or anyone else I know here what our local concerns are – never heard of them. They are silent on the big issues such as the Super Sewer, 21 Wapping Lane, disabled parking etc. Hope none of my taxes are going into this. I’ve nothing against the cafe at all, which is a separate entity, just their tenant.

  • Jake Pearson

    So this is the Charities Commission saying there were findings but they’re not going to tell us. Kind of defeats the purpose of having such a body, no?
    Thanks for the update though

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Turks Head Charity Commission Investigation - findings and recommendations -- Topsy.com