Hampshire charities in spotlight over disclosure breaches

Hampshire Chronicle: Hampshire charities in spotlight over disclosure breaches Hampshire charities in spotlight over disclosure breaches

DOZENS of charities in Winchester and Southampton have been “named and shamed” for failing to submit financial accounts on time.

Charities are required to send their annual accounts to the Charities Commission within 10 months of the end of the financial year every April.

The watchdog website lists 91 organisations in the SO postcode area with overdue accounts and statements for 2011.

They include City Reach Youth Project which received £31,000 from Southampton City Council last February despite the lack of documents showing how it spent money the previous year.

Other “defaulters” include Winchester City Women’s Institute, three scout troops, Alton and District Young Farmer’s Club, several village hall trusts and a Gospel Church.

A Southampton City Council spokesman confirmed it had not received a copy of City Reach’s accounts for 2010-11 when it made a £31,000 grant in February 2012 – and still had not.

He said: “The council does ask for an organisation’s latest accounts with all grant applications.
“Applications are submitted in the autumn around the time accounts are prepared and it is not uncommon for organisations not to have accounts available until after the applications are submitted.”

He added: “We have requested City Reach’s accounts and are working with them to remedy the situation. The council works in partnership with City Reach Youth Project on various projects and does not have any concerns about them at the current time.”

The Charities Commission says public trust and confidence requires transparency and trustees of charities should take seriously the requirement to submit accounts on time.

As previously reported, Winchester Hat Fair was rapped over the knuckles for being late filing its accounts in 2010 and not at all in 2008. The Hat Fair has received grants from Winchester City Council and Hampshire County Council.

However the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NACVA) has opposed the Charity Commission’s policy of naming and shaming charities that fail to submit accounts on time.

It says many small charities are run entirely by volunteers or only have one or two staff. They say late filing can be simply overload and it would be better to get in touch with these charities. Some have small budgets of less than £1,000 but others are larger.

The “defaulters” listed on the Charities  Commission website include: Bishop’s Waltham Village Hall, Colonel Stratton Bates Recreation Ground, Winchester Gateway Club, 13th Itchen North (St Johns) Hedge End Scout group, 19th Thornhill (Itchen North Division) Group of Boy Scouts, Second Chandler’s Ford Scout Group, Ampfield Village Hall, Arts and Youth Trust for Eastleigh, Bitterne Local History Society, Bitterne Lodge Activities Community Association, Calmore and District Community Association, Chantry Hall Trust (Southampton), Dominion Faith Ministries, Eleison- Compassion in Action, Thornhill Youth Centre, Tickleford Playgroup, Tiddlywinks Pre-School, Tiptoe Butterflies Pre-School, Tiptoe Green Trust, Tuesday Toddlers (Lyndhurst), Victory Gospel Church, Woodfield’s Educational Foundation, Emery Down Cottages Charity, Elisabeth Woodfield’s Charity.

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