Scope fined after pensions failure

Scope, the charity that helps people with cerebral palsy, has tightened its internal accounting procedures after it was fined £25,000 for failing to make statutory pensions payments.

Pensions regulator OPRA, which was alerted to the breach by Scope’s auditor Deloitte & Touche, is believed to be clamping down on charities that fail to meet deadlines for paying funds into pension schemes each month.

At a hearing last week, Highbury magistrates court found Scope guilty on nine counts of failing to pay fund managers within the statutory 19-day period. Scope was said to have displayed a ‘serious failing’ in administration and corporate governance and was fined £18,000 with £7,000 costs.

The lapse means much of the money raised in recent second-hand clothing sales – like those promoted in the publicity drive pictured above – will have to be used to pay the fine rather than help cerebral palsy sufferers.

Shirley Scott, director of the Charity Finance Director’s Group, said: ‘Charities should be no different from other employers.

‘They are subject to the law and should make their payments promptly, in the same way as they make national insurance and PAYE contributions each month.’

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