Charity Commission opens Statutory Inquiry into the Swimming Teachers Association
TheCharity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the SwimmingTeachers' Association (STA) amidst reports of improper governance.Founded in 1932, the charity's main mission is to promote theeffective teaching of swimming, lifesaving and survivaltechniques. With 30 countries now adopting its trainingstandards, the charity has grown to employ more than 50 people withincome growing to over £2.2million according to its latest accountsfiled with the Charity Commission in 2014.
TheCharity Commission has decided to exercise its discretion undersection 46 of the Charities Act 2011 (CA 2011) which grants thecommission the power to institute inquiries. By opening such aninquiry, the charity commission has access to a wide range ofinvestigative, protective and remedial legal powers. These caninclude the power to obtain statements and accounts by statutorydeclaration under section 47 CA 2011 and can order search warrantsif approved by a Justice of the Peace under section 48.
Whenlaunching the investigation on 1st July, the commission stated thatthe investigation would mainly consider the governance of thecharity. It will also extend to the activities of the charity'strustees, officers, agents and employees.
Underpinning the investigation has beenthe proposed organisational changes which have been deemed by thecommission to be a potential risk to the charity's assets due tothe lack of clarity regarding how they would benefit the charity'sinterests. It will also investigate whether the charity had claimedrates relief improperly for the property it owns.
Additionally, the commission'sexamination will consider the trustees' oversight and involvementin the recruitment, selection, and remuneration of the charity'ssenior management. This comes as its latest accounts filed with theCharity Commission in 2014, documented the charity's ChiefExecutive earning almost £210,000 a year in addition to eighttrustees being remunerated for at least £8,000 inexpenses.
Following, the announcement of theinquiry, the STA confirmed that its Trustees had immediatelycontacted the Charity Commission in June following serious concernsregarding the management of the charity.
Inits statement, the commission said that since the opening of itsinvestigation, the Trustees had fully co-operated and havesubmitted a serious report form. It has also reiterated that theinquiry itself is not evidence of wrongdoing but merely a processof ascertaining whether management of the charity has beenproper.
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