THE CHARITY COMMISSION has at last published its long awaited report into the mismanagement of the former SPCK Bookshops, offering a damning indictment of the St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust and Company’s trustees and their handling of the organisation’s affairs.
The nine page report provides a close scrutiny of the organisation’s activities and finds huge irregularities in four specific areas:
- Conflict of interest/loyalty, trustee benefit and self-dealing
- Exposure to financial liability of the company and the trust
- Bankruptcy proceedings in the United States of America
- Potential damage to public trust and confidence
It also notes the huge sums involved:
Trust assets of £3,226,100 were safeguarded by the appointment of the interim manager and claims of £4,171,710 were managed. £1,928,853 was disbursed in settlement of claims and £144,486 was disbursed to Orthodox communities.
It fails, however, to identify the Brewer brothers as those responsible for the disaster, and fails to consider the human cost—the distress, hardship and misery caused to so many—noting only that “Thirty four of the shops’ ex-employees submitted redundancy claims” and that “Settlement of the redundancy claims from ex-shop employees was made and claims were paid in 2009 and 2010.”
For a longer report, see Charity Commission releases report on the SPCK/SSG Bookshops on the SPCK/SSG blog; for comment from Michelle Russell (Charity Commission Director of Investigations, Monitoring and Enforcement) and Sam Richardson (current CEO of SPCK) see Charity that took on SPCK Christian bookshops strongly criticised by Charity Commission on Christian Today.