Below is the initial response (30 August 2011) from the Charity Commission (Wales Office) to the Tribunal’s findings:
In response to the serious criticisms of the charity’s governance set out in the Tribunal’s judgement, I have written to the trustees today in order to convey our concern and establish what steps the trustees intend to take to review and improve the corporate governance of the charity.
I should clarify that, as the regulator for charities, the Charity Commission does not become involved in matters of employment, as these are outside our jurisdiction. However we do have a role in ensuring that charities are accountable, well run and meet their legal obligations in order to promote public trust and confidence.
As you are aware, the judgement makes serious criticisms about the governance of the charity and states that the trustees “failed in their duties to oversee the conduct of the officers”.
The Tribunal’s criticisms about the role of trustees are of particular concern because AVOW receives funding in order to establish and maintain good practice for the local voluntary sector. It is essential therefore that the charity demonstrates that it operates as a role model of good governance. This judgement is likely to have a negative impact on the charity’s reputation and we consider that it requires urgent action.
The charity has also suffered a significant financial loss of £21,177.52.
I anticipate that the trustees will be aware of the seriousness of this issue and the importance of learning from the Tribunal’s judgement in order to address the shortfalls in governance that have been identified.
The Commission has asked the trustees to set out the actions they intend to take as a result of this judgement and detail what steps will be taken to strengthen the governance of the charity. We will then consider whether we have a further role in providing advice and guidance to ensure these issues are properly addressed.
I hope this is helpful.