How we will manage the full conveyancing process without any experts help?

In my reviews I take evidence from the complainant, the Charities Board and anyone else who may be able to help. I clear the factual part of my report with the Board and the complainant before completion. I reach a finding on the complaint and may make recommendations about any remedy for the complainant or about any Board practice or procedure which I think needs attention. It is for the Board then to decide what action to take. My workload so far has been relatively light. I completed two reviews in 1998/99; two more were underway.

My first review concerned newspaper allegations that there had been a serious conflict of interest in a grant made to a small charity where a senior officer of the Charities Board was a trustee. I found that the officer had properly declared his interest and sought approval to make the application. There was no evidence that he had sought to influence the Charities Board’s decision. However, I did find that he should have told the Charities Board that his wife might complete the application. I made recommendations about the handling of cases involving conflicts of interest.

My second review related to a complaint from a charity that the Charities Board had unfairly suspended its grant after receiving police information suggesting that it was being used to support criminal activities. I found that the Board’s decision has been properly taken but that it had been made with unnecessary haste and without due consultation. I also found that the Board should have agreed to the charity’s request for a meeting. I found that the handling of the complaint had been shoddy and insensitive letters remained unanswered and the charity was not told it. could complain to me until it threatened judicial review. I recommended that the Chief Executive should apologise to the charity and made other recommendations to prevent reoccurrence of shortcomings I had found. The Charities Board accepted my findings in both cases and is following up my recommendations. In my reviews I have always received willing cooperation from the Charities Board staff, for which I record my thanks.

The Charities Board is now within the remit of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, to whom complaints may be made through an MP after the body complained against has had opportunity to deal with the matter. This does not affect my role as Independent Complaints Reviewer, though it does mean that a complainant who remains dissatisfied after my review would be able to go to the Ombudsman – who could if he wished criticise my performance. To produce a successful, achievable strategic plan, we consulted widely with the voluntary sector. A draft version, including a broad analysis of needs throughout the UK, was made available for comment from October 1998. Enact Settlement Agents Perth