A NEWTOWN based land charity has been warned about filing its accounts late and paying trustees.

The Charity Commission has issued an Official Warning to CWM Harry Land Trust Ltd, over continued non-compliance with legal obligations to file financial information, and breaches of rules around payments to trustees.

The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the charity in October 2019 after the charity repeatedly failed to file accounts and annual returns with the Commission.

On October 2, 2019, the charity filed its required financial information for the financial year ending March 31, 2016 but it continues to be in default of filing financial information for the financial years ending March 31, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

One of the trustees was also receiving salary payments for his role as a ‘Project Director’ for the charity; the charity’s governing document clearly prohibits the paid employment of trustees. The charity has since halted the payments and is taking appropriate steps to address this arrangement.

The inquiry finds that these longstanding failings amount to a breach of trust or duty, as well as misconduct and mismanagement in the administration of the charity.

Amy Spiller, Head of Investigations Team at the Charity Commission said: “This charity has worthy ambitions of helping communities sustainably manage environmental resources, so it is disappointing that the trustees have not proven effective or responsible in managing their own finances.

"In issuing this warning, we are clear that this cannot continue, and the trustees must urgently address our concerns and file their financial returns.

“We know from research we have carried out into public trust in charities that the public care deeply about transparency. Charity can and should lead the way in taking public expectations seriously - that’s why it is vital that they are clear and accountable about how they spend their money.

"We want to see charities thrive, and so our message to all trustees is: be accountable and demonstrate your worth to the public and donors.”

The Official Warning is displayed on the Register of Charities for a period of 12 months. The Commission’s inquiry continues.