The Charity Commission has responded to concerns about the Maybury Centre in a letter to trustees of the Board School Road community venue.

In correspondence seen by the News & Mail, an officer of the Charity Commission says: “I am writing to you about regulatory issues that have come to our attention. Concerns have been identified, and we have issue you with regulatory advice under section 15 (2) of the Charities Act 2011.”

The letter notes a series of areas in which “this advice will help the trustees to comply with their duties and responsibilities and act in the best interests of the charity”.

It addresses the following areas:

Governance – “We have received concerns that decision-making within the charity is significantly influenced and/or controlled by a small number of individuals.”

Financial controls – “We have also been made aware of concerns that the charity may not have suitable internal financial controls in place to properly protect and account for its funds.”

Charity reporting and accounts – “We note that the charity appears to be in default of its accounting requirements for the financial year ending 31 March 2023.”

Conflicts of interest – “We have also been made aware that potential conflicts of interest are not being appropriately identified and managed. The trustees have a duty to act in the best interests of the charity.”

Political activity – “We have also been made aware of concerns around political activity by trustees. Trustees must not allow the charity to be used as a vehicle for the expression of the personal or party-political views of any individual trustee or staff member.”

Disputes – “We refer the trustees to our guidance on disagreements and disputes for information on resolving any disputes that may arise.”

Although the Charity Commission does not require a response from the trustees it makes the point that “failure to comply with the lawful advice of a regulator may be considered misconduct or mismanagement”.

Commenting on the matters raised by the letter, the chairman of the Maybury Centre trustees, Dr Syed Naqvi, told the News & Mail: “The trustees of the Maybury Centre Trust have acted collectively and responsibly in its decision making and operational matters as per our governing document. 

“I accept, however, that we have been delayed in our submission of TAR [Trustees’ Annual Report]. This is due to the fact that the ex-treasurer and certain ex-trustees failed to comply with the governing document in previous submissions – this matter was identified by our current treasurer and has since been resolved as per the Charity Commission guidelines.

“The Charity Commission are aware of the changes we have made in order to rectify the issues arising, and we have sent our accounts for independent external review to a qualified accountant.

“We have taken on board the advice and guidance provided to us by the Charity Commission, and we will be discussing the matters during our next trustees’ meeting to ensure that we are fully compliant, as we have been thus far.”