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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Charity regulator publishes inquiry report

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, has published a statutory inquiry report into three related charities, Karmel City Church, Karmel Trust and Make a Difference Worldwide.

The charities first came to the attention of the charity regulator in April 2019 when the enquiries team received a report of matters regarded as alleged or actual serious incidents, including a lack of transparency about the origin and purpose of a significant donation (approximately £600,000) received by the Karmel City Church.

A statutory inquiry was opened, which found evidence of mismanagement and misconduct across the three charities and by all trustees.

The Commission took a range of actions to restore good governance to the charities, including appointing an interim manager to conduct a forensic examination of information about the property and affairs of the charities.

The Commission’s inquiry has now concluded and a full statement of the results of the inquiry, including the issues identified by the Commission, is below:

Download 20201209 Statutory inquiry report - Karmel City Church, Karmel Trust and Make a Difference Worldwide PDF (620.7 KB)

Sarah Finnegan, Head of Enquiries and Compliance at the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, said:

“Cases such as this are not representative of the many well governed charities in Northern Ireland who deliver an excellent service to their beneficiaries. However, they do highlight that where evidence of misconduct and mismanagement is found, the role of the regulator is to step in quickly and take all necessary action to protect charities.

“The Commission has published guidance on running a charity, which is specifically aimed at supporting trustees on key aspects of operating a charity effectively and in compliance with the law. In particular, this guidance highlights the need for trustees to manage conflicts of interest and to maintain and retain proper financial records.

“I would strongly advise all trustees to ensure they read this guidance and have it on hand as a reference tool, alongside their charity’s governing document.”


For more information please contact Shirley Kernan, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Communications Officer, on telephone: 028 3832 0169, mobile: 07525153821 or email:

Notes to editors

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland.

The Commission has statutory objectives to ensure trustees comply with their legal obligations in managing charities, and to increase public trust and confidence in charities. This includes a statutory function to identify and investigate apparent misconduct or mismanagement in the administration of charities, and to take remedial or protective action.

*Under statutory inquiry, the Commission may use its most stringent powers under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008 to address concerns about a charity. The Commission will undertake a statutory inquiry if there is serious and substantial risk to the assets or beneficiaries of a charity.