Charities failing to submit accounts

DOZENS of charities in the Salisbury postcode area have been failing to submit their accounts and returns to a Government watchdog on time.

Some charities are listed on the Charity Commission’s website as just a couple of weeks overdue, but others have not submitted their details for months.

Charities with an income of £25,000 or more are legally obliged to submit accounts and a summary, known as a return, to the commission within 10 months of their financial year end. Those with incomes of less than £10,000 are required to update the details kept on them by the commission.

The defaulters as of November 21 ranged in size from those with incomes of tens of thousands to small church and village charities. The list included The Hollows Playschool, providing pre-school care and education for young children in Wilton, which did not submit accounts for 2010 or 2011. In 2010 it spent £42,636 from an income of £52,437.

Rebecca Twinn, who is named as one of the trustees of The Hollows Playschool charity, told the Journal by email: “Unfortunately I am unable to help you as this is the first I have heard of any of this. I will contact the Charity Commission myself to find out what has and hasn't happened. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.”

Also on the list was Avon Small Saints Pre-School at Netheravon Primary School, which in the year to August 31, 2011, spent £71,000 from an income of £78,000. As of November 21 it was 144 days overdue in submitting its accounts for the year to August 31, 2012.

Speaking this week, Hayley Humphris, headteacher of Netheravon Church of England Primary School, who is the charity’s trustee, said: “The accounts have been submitted and the Charity Commission is quite happy.”

Other defaulters on November 21 included: The Friends of Salisbury Cathedral School; The Old Godolphin Association Bursary; The Officers’ Mess RAF Boscombe Down (which submitted accounts but was 235 days overdue with its return) and the Parochial Church Council of St Mary and St Melor, Amesbury.

Tallulah Perez, Charity Commission press officer, said reminders are sent to charities at intervals of three, seven and nine months. She said: “They cannot possibly say they forgot about it. It’s not a good enough excuse. People forget they do have budgetary responsibility.”

She said failure to meet the requirements could result in investigation and the use of statutory powers against trustees.

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