Malyon College, charity review

The charity's Annual Information Statement current at the time of this review has been superseded.  Please start with the updated review published in May 2018, and come back to this one as needed.

This is a charity review, a review for those with an interest in the Australian charity Malyon College (MC).

Although MC is a charity, it is not a charity registered with the ACNC[i]. Instead it achieves its tax concessions via its ‘parent’, The Baptist Union of Queensland (BUC). (MC is a ministry of BUC.)

This review is structured according to the BUC’s entry on the Register, and its purpose is to supply some information on MC extra to what is there, information that may be helpful in your decision about MC.

It is up to you to decide whether any or all of the information presented here is what you need in order to make that decision, and whether you should seek any other information, either from the charity itself or from other sources.

Ministry response

  • Prior to publishing this review, I sent my observations to the charity, on 13 April 2016, and invited them to comment. They did not respond.

Organisation of this review

  • The first part of this review is organised according to those headings in BU’s entry in the Register that are relevant to MC.
  • There is then a more detailed comment on the Financial Report. (Go straight there.)
  • Lastly, there is a section Membership of accountability organisations

Sources

  • ACNC Register for BU (including links)
  • Google search on the charity’s name.
  • MC website.
  • FaceBook – but in the name ‘Malyon’.  Instagram, Twitter (but nothing since early 2014), and YouTube.
  • Not on LinkedIn.
  • State government fundraising licence registers.
  • No reviews yet on Glassdoor.

REGISTRATION DETAILS

Entity Subtype

  • As MC is a college that provides only two things, theological education and training in practical ministry, it fits with BU’s subtype. However, MA also qualifies for ‘Advancing education’.
  • MC doesn’t have a constitution to check for objects or purposes, but BU’s By-Laws (see Charity’s Document, below), tell us that a ‘Purpose Statement’ for MC should have been developed. However, it appears that this is not in the public domain.

CHARITY DETAILS

Legal Name

  • BUC is incorporated by Letters Patent under The Religious Educational and Charitable Institution Act of 1861 (Qld). MC has no separate legal identity.
  • MC’s legal name is Malyon College – The Queensland Baptist College of Minstries. Neither Malyon College or Malyon are registered business names, meaning that MC should not be operating under any other name than its legal name.

Other Name(s)

  • BU’s business names should be listed here. They include MC’s name, Malyon College – The Queensland Baptist College of Minstries.
  • Although BU has 27 other business names (all of which should be listed here), it has not registered any of the three entities operated by MC, the Malyon Centres. All three have their own website and staff, and at least one, The Malyon Centre for Christian Leadership, has a physical site.

Charity ABN

  • MC is operating under BU’s ABN.
  • You wouldn’t know it from any of the information about BU, but you can get a tax deduction for a donation to MC: MC is the trustee for a foundation, The Malyon Foundation, and the trustee is endorsed as a deductible gift recipient.

Charity Address for Service

  • Something for MC would probably get to them from this address, but their direct email, from the website, is info@malyon.edu.au.
  • I have no reason to believe that this doesn’t work.

Charity Street Address

  • The MC campus is also at this address.
  • Postal address of MC, from the website: PO BOX 6166, Mitchelton QLD, Australia 4053

Email

  • See Charity Address for Service,
  • I have no reason to believe that this doesn’t work.

Phone

  • From the MC website: 07 3354 5656.

Website

ANNUAL REPORTING

  • AIS 2015
    • BU’s compulsory Annual Information Statement 2014 (AIS 2014) contains nothing specific to MC.
  • Financial Report 2015
    • This Report includes information about MC.
    • The report was signed five months after the year end.
    • It was then lodged over four months after that, well over two months late.
    • The coverage of finances in this review is left until the financial report proper (see Latest financial report – detail, below).

ABOUT THE CHARITY

  • Statement of Faith
    • None found on the website.
      • There are, however, ‘core values’.
      • MC doesn’t have a constitution to check for a statement of faith, but it does, if BU’s constitution has been followed, have a Charter. However, this has not been made public.

Date Established

  • There’s a history on the MC website.

Who the Charity Benefits

  • Vision and Mission
  • Activities (What did MC do?)
    • Courses.
    • News, here and here.No annual report/review. Nor one for BU (to check for a section on MC).
  • Outcomes (What did MC deliver?)
    • Nothing systematic found.
  • Impact (How were people’s lives improved?)
    • Nothing systematic found.

Size of Charity

  • MC on its own would also be ‘Large’.

Financial Year End

  • This means that the next financial report is due by 31 December 2016. (or 31 January 2017 if the ACNC repeats its previous generosity.)
  • Before that the financial information on the Register will be up to 18 months out-of-date.
    • You may therefore need to ask for more up-to-date information.

WHERE THE CHARITY OPERATES

Operating State(s)[ii]

  • MC does not have a fundraising licence in this state.
  • MC calls for donations on its website.  It does not have a licence in any of the other six states that have a licensing regime.
    • Apart from exemptions, the need for a licence depends on whether these states think that an internet call for donations amounts to ‘fundraising’.

CHARITY’S DOCUMENT (SIC)

  • This document tells us that the governing document for MC is a ‘Charter’. It does not appear to be publicly available.

RESPONSIBLE PERSONS

  • BU’s By-Laws – see just above – say that MC has a governing body (‘Council (or another agreed name’). However, who is on this body is not on either website, nor elsewhere on the internet.

(End of review of the ACNC Register information)

Latest financial report – detail

  • In the usual document where the directors put their name to the financial report, the Statement by Members of the Board – a statement that doesn’t comply with the ACNC’s requirements – the directors of BU say that the ‘financial statements and notes…present a true and fair view.’ As MC’s financial position and performance are included in BU’s statements, the usefulness of the information on MC also rests on the directors’ claim.
  • Unfortunately, there is considerable evidence against their claim[iii]:
    • A reporting entity is one where the users of the financial statements are dependent on general purpose financial statements for their information. In other words, they do not have the capacity to request the entity to give them a financial report tailored to their specific needs.
    • Despite BU being the peak body for hundreds of churches and 35000 Baptists, and an organisation with multiple diverse ministries and a turnover of $92 million, the directors claim that BU ‘is not a reporting entity’. And then give no reason.
      • Did the directors realise that they were saying that all these ‘stakeholders’ could get a report tailored to their situation?
    • BU did not comply with the Accounting Standards required by the Act under which they are reporting, the ACNC Act.
    • Two of the four required financial statements are missing.
    • The Income Statement has significant errors:
      • No ‘Other comprehensive income’
      • Includes the revaluation of assets in the surplus
      • Without explanation, includes the income and expenses of some ministries partly as a net result in a separate section – ‘Surplus/ (deficit) from Other Income Generating Ministries’ – and partly without deduction under Income.
        • MC has $150K income in the Note for ‘Specified Gifts & Donations’
        • $150K ‘expenditure’ in the Note for ‘Other Ministries’, and
        • $113K in the separate section.
    • The Notes to the Financial Statements are totally inadequate as an explanation of the figures:
      • There are only two accounting policy Notes, far short of the pages of information that would normally be required to explain the choices for an organisation of BU’s complexity.
        • And one of these two is incomplete.
      • The remaining Notes are insufficient to ensure a true and fair view.
    • Nowhere is MC’s fund mentioned. Is it consolidated in MC’s figures?

Membership of accountability organisations claimed

  • Membership of Missions Interlink is claimed (but without the logo). Confirmed.
    • As a member, MC is required to ‘have available for its members and supporters a clear and appropriate financial statement which has been approved by its auditor [Standards Statement, 4.1]. MC does not comply with this. Even if Missions Interlink interpret the requirement as applying to BU, not MC, its compliance is questionable.

(End of review)

 

[i] Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Australia’s national regulator of charities.

[ii] This is how the ACNC explains ‘operating locations’ in their application guide: ‘You need to give details about where in Australia your organisation conducts (or plans to conduct) its activities.’

[iii] Interesting, given John Sweetman’s belief in the importance of transparency. (He’s the Principal of MC.)