Charity regulator serves notice on animal rescue organisation to keep financial records
A Kerry-based animal charity has been served notice to ensure it keeps proper financial accounts.
The notice was served on Animal Heaven Animal Rescue and follows an investigation by Charity Regulator John Farrelly.
He said under Section 47 of the Charities Act 2009 all charities have a “duty to keep proper books of account".
Mr Farrelly said: "Concerns were raised with my office, in relation to Animal Heaven Animal Rescue (AHAR) and following our initial assessment, we sought information from the charity regarding their compliance with the Charities Acts.
"Following this, two members of the Charities Regulator’s Compliance Unit conducted a site visit, to inspect the charity's financial books and records and to hold interviews with the Charity Trustees and the charity’s manager.
"During this process we identified a number of issues regarding the governance and financial management of the charity. Specifically, the failure of the charity to maintain proper books of account. We formed the view that this is an offence under the Charities Act, 2009. The Charity Trustees co-operated with the Compliance Unit and have also agreed with this assessment.
"This is why we now require the Charity Trustees to take immediate steps to ensure that proper books of account are maintained and that procedures are introduced, which will facilitate them in providing the relevant scrutiny and oversight of the charity's financial management.
"Failure to comply with this order will result the Charities Regulator bringing a prosecution against AHAR and may take steps to temporarily removing them from the Register of Charities, until such a time that we are satisfied that they meet their legal requirements."
The notice, which was accepted by the organisation on the January 16, 2017, requires the charity to:
- Assign the responsibility of keeping proper books of account to a person(s) with the appropriate skills and experience;
- Introduce periodic financial reporting setting out the income and expenditure (including the nature of that income and expenditure) and the assets and liabilities of the charity;
- Ensure all financial reports are scrutinised by the charity trustees under a standing agenda item – ‘financial status of the charity’ during regular management committee meetings.
If the organisation fails to rectify their non-compliance, then proceedings for the offence may be brought against Trustees and against the organisation and they could be temporarily removed from the Register of Charities.