Press release: New charity investigation: Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Orphan Relief Fund and Charitable Trust, registered charity number 803125. The inquiry was opened on 24 July 2017.

The charity’s objects include the provision of education and the relief of poverty for youth under the age of 21 who are suffering after the loss of one or more parents. The charity operates in a number of countries including Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.

The Commission proactively identified the charity for a compliance visit due to its work in high risk areas. The compliance visit, which was carried out in May 2017, identified that the trustees were unable to provide records to evidence a significant amount of its overseas expenditure in Iraq between 2013 and 2017. The Commission also found that a number of payments had been made to one of the charity’s trustees without explanation.

The Commission also found that the charity has applied funds to activities that fall outside of its objects.

The Commission has exercised its legal powers under section 47 of the Charities Act 2011 to direct the trustees to provide information and documents regarding the charity and its administration.

The inquiry will examine:

  • the administration, governance and management of the charity by the trustees
  • the financial controls and management of the charity and whether its funds have been properly expended solely for charitable purposes and can be accounted for
  • the conduct of the trustees
  • whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law

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 GOV.UK.

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

Ends

PR 56/17

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  2. Search for charities on our online register.
  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 investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
  4. The purpose of an inquiry to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been misconduct and mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its investigative, protective and remedial powers to do so.
  5. The Commission issued the direction under section 47(2)(a) and (b) of the Charites Act 2011 on 31 July 2017.
  6. 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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