New broom time at Charity Commission

As the new Chief Executive waits at the door and the replacement of the Chairman is imminent it is surely time for a change of approach  in 2013 a member of the public made a complaint about Catalyst Trust and although the commission moved quickly to examine its financial records, it was more than 3 years later that we finally found out what had transpired. The enquiry completed in November 2016 was finally made public in June 2017. Read it here.

This all sounds strangely familiar to me.   In January 2015 I raised very similar concerns about a charity.  Today, two and a half years later, I am still effectively being ignored by its CEO, Chairman and board members

The Commission was recently characterised by a senior executive of a large charity as ‘the worst provider of customer service’ and is, according to almost everyone I speak to who has had dealings with them, virtually impossible to deal with

Enquiries from the public are I think often treated as a nuisance.  Communication is at best slow, often non-existent and occasionally disingenuous. The Commission’s self-congratulation when after years it achieves very little and oftentimes produces outcomes so long after events that they provide little or no solace defies belief. Who for example hs been held to account at Kid’s Company?

I reproduce here an email to the Commission in May 2017, following up a letter posted individually to every member of its Board dated 11 April.

I’m disappointed to say that I still haven’t heard from any board member following my letter of 11 April and follow up email below.


I was interested to see an announcement last week that a complaint in 2013 from a member of the public, that looks very similar to mine, took until November 2016 to be resolved and a further 8 months to be reported. At least there were some trustee bans in the end but 4 years? This seems excessive and is I suggest indicative of why your board members need to look at cases like mine and face up to and address the failings they seem to highlight. Diane did indicate that she should be concluded by end of May 2017 but having not heard from her I have asked for an update today.


Ignoring those you are supposed to inspire is in my view both common and unacceptable. I hope board members and your new CEO when she arrives will address that as a priority.


I sincerely hope that my concerns will be seriously considered and that someone in a senior position will reassure me on that point. Failing that perhaps I might hope for some media attention around your governance which seems to me to need attention. Perhaps someone might have the courtesy to comment?

This e mail was never answered but when chasing it, I discovered that my open letter to board members was, it seems, intercepted by staff who only on this approach (23 June 2017) considered it a wider complaint. Even then they passed it on not to those to whom it was addressed but to its business assurance unit. This has prompted a complaint from me which although Submitted on 28 June, has yet to be acknowledged.

Watch this space.

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