The Charities Regulator has today published an inspector’s report into Cabhru Housing Association Services (Registered Charity Number 20008543) (the ‘Charity’) following an investigation into the affairs of the Charity.
In early January 2020, the Charities Regulator received a concern in relation to the use of the charitable assets of the Charity. The Charities Regulator engaged with the Charity over a number of months. The Charities Regulator ultimately determined that a statutory investigation was warranted and in April 2020, inspectors were appointed to carry out an investigation into the affairs of the Charity under Part 4 of the Charities Act 2009. The Charities Regulator received the inspector’s final report on 14 July 2021 (the ‘Report’) and a decision to publish the report was taken pursuant to section 66(3)(c) of the Charities Act 2009.
“The Inspectors’ Report provides a further example of the importance of the relationship between a charity’s Board of trustees and its senior management team and underlines why working effectively is a key principle of the Charities Governance Code. The Report also highlights the importance of a charity’s Board of trustees exercising control, which is another principle of the Code”, Ms Martin said. “The Charities Governance Code sets out core standards of governance which every charity is expected to implement. While charity trustees are the people responsible for the management and control of charities, it is incumbent on everyone involved in a charity to understand the essential role that governance plays and key requirements such as the necessity to safeguard charity assets. The Inspectors’ report contains points of learning for all charities and, as always, we would encourage anyone involved in a registered charity to read the full text of the report.”
“Cabhru Housing Association Services was furnished with a copy of the Inspectors’ report and was afforded the opportunity to provide an update on the matters referred to in the Report. The Board of trustees of the Charity responded promptly outlining the actions that the Charity had taken to date to address matters raised in the Report. The Charities Regulator will continue to engage with the Charity and as part of that engagement our Compliance and Enforcement Unit will follow up with the Board of trustees to ensure that any actions required to address matters referred to in the Inspectors’ report have been implemented,” Charities Regulator CEO Helen Martin said.
The report sets out a summary of factual findings which includes the following:
- A formal procedure for assessment of the requirement to use apartments for office purposes and/or occasional overnight stays, and formal approval by the Board did not take place.
- The use of an address relating to a housing unit owned by the Charity for the purpose of registering and/or operating a company not related to the Charity, was inappropriate.
- While the Charity did facilitate short term renting agreements with students, this practice was put in place to ensure that some value was obtained from the Charity assets while the de-tenanting process was taking place for the purpose of re-developing McSweeney House.
- No evidence was provided to suggest that existing tenants were removed from McSweeney House with a view to increase profits generated through student rentals.
- The Board and Former CEO/Consultant of the Charity did not adequately secure the interests of the Charity by ensuring signed rental agreements were in place for the commercial letting to the student agency, and short-term lettings to students.
- No signed agreement was put in place between the Charity and the Former CEO/Consultant, despite numerous decisions regarding his role, remuneration and appointment being minuted during Board meetings.