Regulator bans former trustees for ‘persistent and prolonged failures’

Two former trustees have been banned from senior voluntary sector roles for seven years by the Charity Commission over their “persistent and prolonged failures” in running a regeneration charity in the Manchester area.

The regulator’s latest investigation, which launched last year, found that the two former trustees of the Moss Side and Hulme Community Development Trust were responsible for long term misconduct and/or mismanagement.

Former trustees Hartley Hanley and Mike Bisson had also failed to comply with a previous order from the regulator to improve.

The findings are from the third statutory inquiry into the charity during the two trustees time at the charity.

The first was part of a class action in 2017 on charities that had double defaulted on filing their accounts.

The second was launched a year later over concerns around unauthorised payments to a trustee.

This concluded two years ago and criticised the charity for paying a trustee £56,000 over three years to act in the role as chief executive between 2013 and 2015.

A factor in the opening of this latest inquiry last year was a failure by Hanley and Bisson to engage with the regulator or respond to an order to ensure more trustees are appointed, trustees are not renumerated, and an AGM is advertised and held.

“The regulator made numerous attempts to contact them to assess their compliance with the order but was met with either little engagement or no response,” said the regulator.

It added: “The regulator has concluded that Mr Hanley’s and Mr Bisson’s failure to comply with an order of the Commission, and their persistent and prolonged failures amount to misconduct and/or mismanagement in the administration of this charity. They were each consequently disqualified from acting as a trustee for 7 years.”

During its latest inquiry the Commission appointed three trustees, who removed Hanley as a trustee. Bisson, meanwhile, resigned.

Two further trustees have since been appointed to the charity’s five strong board

Trustees of charities should show accountability towards the communities they serve, and the wider public,” said Charity Commission head of investigations Amy Spiller.

“This includes complying with an order of the Commission.”

She added: “I hope that the new trustee board can deliver on the charity’s aims for the people of Moss Side and Hulme.”

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