Press release: New charity investigation: Chevras Machzikei Mesifta

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a new statutory inquiry into Chevras Machzikei Mesifta (registered charity number 1104022)for repeatedly defaulting on the submission of annual accounting information. The inquiry opened on 19 February 2015.

The charity, which has objects to advance orthodox Jewish religious education throughout the World, was until recently part of the commission’s class inquiry into charities that have defaulted on two or more occasions on their legal obligations to submit annual accounting information to the regulator. On 3 June 2014, the charity came out of that inquiry because it had submitted the outstanding accounts from the financial year ending 31 March 2013. The inquiry report was published by the regulator on 4 August 2014

Despite the regulator’s recent enforcement action to ensure the trustees were compliant, the charity failed to submit its annual accounts and returns for the latest financial year which were due by 31 January 2015. The commission has already exercised its statutory powers to direct the trustees to prepare and submit the missing information and an explanation for the repeated default, so this can be considered before further action by the regulator is considered – see endnote 1.

As is the commission’s practice for all accounts submitted as part of the class inquiry, the charity’s accounts for 2013 were scrutinised by expert accountants. That scrutiny revealed significant regulatory concerns, including that the charity appears to have a policy of not retaining any reserves. In addition, the charity failed to submit the required documents for the financial year ending 2014 when they became due on 31 January 2015 and thus was again in default of legal requirements. The scope of the inquiry will be to regularise the defaults and also consider taking appropriate remedial action against the trustees for persistent breach of their duties.

Publication of this statement was delayed in line with Cabinet Office guidance and the commission’s subsequent decision not to announce new inquiries during Purdah, the pre-election period.

It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries by the commission are available on its website.

The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.



Notes to Editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.

  2. Our mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
    • Charities know what they have to do
    • The public know what charities do
    • Charities are held to account
  3. Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of protective and remedial powers.

  4. The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.

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  1. The Charity Commission exercised its powers under section 84 of the Act to direct the trustees to prepare and complete the relevant missing annual accounts, reports and returns for the charity and provide copies of these to the commission.

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