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Conflict of interest within a charity

(12 Posts)
PollyDolly Tue 03-Nov-20 11:24:10

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this. I'm distantly involved with a registered charity. I was approached by another member who revealed some information that I feel is a case of conflict of the interest. Seemingly, the charity buys consumables from a company locally and it now emerges that one of the top people on the organising teams owns the suppliers of the consumables. Is this right, should they "profit" like this, there's discount involved, we are paying full price apparently. I am so worried, I don't know how to address this.

Galaxy Tue 03-Nov-20 11:27:30

It's difficult to say without more details. Have whoever is involved declared an interest. Are the services put out to tender (e.g within local authorities you would need to get three quotes for services). I think you would need more information before deciding your next step.

annsixty Tue 03-Nov-20 11:29:27

Would the Charity Commissioner be able to help you or are you hoping to keep this low key for the time being?
You perhaps should bring it to the attention of the Trustees of the Charity.

fevertree Tue 03-Nov-20 11:42:44

pollydolly this is an important governance issue for the charity and the Trustees must be asked to clarify whether or not this "top person" can profit from the business of the charity.

Definitely ask for clarification from the Trustees (perhaps from the one who has the governance portfolio), there is no need to approach it in any other way than openly. It's just a question after all, and charities should be completely transparent in how they operate.

cornishpatsy Tue 03-Nov-20 12:24:02

Can the consumables be purchased cheaper or better from elsewhere ?or was that the best option anyway, I think it makes a difference as to how it should be approached.

suziewoozie Tue 03-Nov-20 12:49:54

It doesn’t actually matter whether the goods were purchased more cheaply or not, it’s a very clear potential conflict of interest and should have been declared. The Trustees would then have decided ( without the relevant person being present) what to do and this shoukd all have been minuted.

BlueBelle Tue 03-Nov-20 13:45:35

I be.dive it is a conflict of interest but definitely clear it up with the charities commission

suziewoozie Tue 03-Nov-20 14:03:48

I think it should go to the Trustees first - the CC are hardly known for their lightening responses to anything

PollyDolly Tue 03-Nov-20 15:25:13

Thank you all for your input. I have no doubt that the topic will be discussed at Committee level at some point; I know we have to put things out for tender for supply of goods and it actually alarms me that this hasn't been happening for some time. Thanks again, I value your help immensely.

Luckygirl Tue 03-Nov-20 15:30:46

If buying stuff in is not going to tender then this is wrong and should be raised with the trustees immediately.

It sounds as though this charity is taking a leaf out of the government's book,

Oopsadaisy4 Tue 03-Nov-20 15:41:09

It depends on how distantly you are involved, do you attend meetings? You could ask the Secretary to put it under AOB at the meeting, telling him briefly what your question is. Alternatively ask the question at the public meeting.

It’s awkward, our local Village Hall was renovated using a mix of Local Authority Funding, charitable Trust funding and Other sources, plus local fund raising in the Village, the building works were done by the brother of one of the PC councillors. When I mentioned it I was told that the Tenders had come in all at very similar amounts but that the councillor had vouched for his brothers work, so they didn’t mind paying a bit more.
To say that I wasn’t popular for asking the question at the meeting would be an understatement, but later another councillor came up and said that I had been brave to ask the question at the meeting as she also had her doubts.
In the end the work was fine, but I still don’t think that it was the way to go.

NotSpaghetti Wed 04-Nov-20 23:00:14

Oopsadaisy I think we must be neighbours... it smacks of nepotism.