The Charity Commission has closed its inquiry into Chabad Lubavitch UK after the organisation failed to file accounts on time.
The statutory inquiry found no evidence of fraud or misappropriation of charity assets, but concluded that late accounting had led to “gaps” in records, which were “not as accurate as they could have been”.
The charity, which is well-known for its outreach work and support for events such as Chanukah in the Square, spends almost £10 million every year but had defaulted in its statutory reporting obligations “for several consecutive years”.
Investigators took action in 2017 after identifying “a persistent pattern of behaviour and evidence of mismanagement in the administration of the charity”.
It closed its investigation in March this year, according to a statement issued this week.
“This inquiry highlighted poor management and controls in the administration of the charity,” said Amy Spiller, the Commission’s head of investigations. “The public rightly expect trustees to take their responsibilities seriously.”
She added that there was now “increased transparency, so that the public are better able to see how the charity manages its finances… I expect these steps towards improved governance and reporting to continue”.
An estimate £26.8 million of charitable income from 2015-17 has now accounted for, the Commission said, adding that Chabad Lubavitch UK trustees had “co-operated with the inquiry and made a number of necessary improvements”.
Speaking to Jewish News, Rabbi Pesach Efune, a trustee of Chabad Lubavitch UK commented: “We are delighted, but not surprised, to have now been given a clean bill of health by the Commission. The inquiry was initiated whilst our processes were already under review and we took the opportunity to work with the Charity Commission to address every aspect of our governance and systems.
“With a strengthened professional senior management team, including a new Finance Director and Chief Operating Officer, we submitted our accounts on time last year and are well advanced to do so again this year, and we now feel confident going forward in the future.”
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.