The Trustee for The Overseas Council Fund: mini-charity review

Mini-charity review of The Trustee for The Overseas Council Fund (OCF), an organisation that is connected, through Stephen Kerr, to the CMA Standards Council, Christian Ministry Advancement Ltd‘s  ‘major new initiative, accrediting Christian organisations against a set of standards of good governance, financial oversight, and fundraising ethics.’

Is it responsive to feedback?

  • When sent a draft of this review, on 7 June 2017, they…didn’t respond.

Is it registered?

  • Yes, as a charity.
    • Its trustee is Overseas Council Australia.
      • For some unexplained reason, the trustee does not consolidate the affairs of the Fund, and has not taken advantage of the ACNC’s ‘Group reporting’ concessions.
  • OCF is a public ancillary fund, a fund that collects tax deductible donations and gives them to funds who have Deductible Gift Recipient status[1].

What does OCF do?

  • The only information available, including on the OCA website, is OCF’s ‘Description of charity’s activities and outcomes’ in their Annual Information Statement (AIS) 2016:
    • Raising funds to assist partner colleges to improve leadership in developing countries.

Do they share the Gospel[2]?

  • From the little information about the Fund that is available, it is not possible to say. However, its Deductible Gift Recipient status means that it shouldn’t.

What impact are they having?

  • No information is available.

What do they spend outside the costs directly incurred in delivering the above impact, that is, on administration?

  • Expenses other than ‘Grants and donations made…for use in Australia’ are 25% of the total.
    • But there is only $450 outside ‘Exployee expenses/ payments’, so it appears that they are not bearing all their own costs.

Can you get a tax deduction?

  • Yes

Is their online giving secure?

  • The Fund has no website, and even though OCF ‘maintains separate accounting and bank accounts, and provides tax deductible receipts to donors’, there is no mention of giving to the Fund on the trustee’s website.

What choices do you have in how your donation is used?

  • NA

Is their reporting up-to-date?

  • Yes (eight months after their year-end, one day after the maximum period allowed).
    • Why did the ACNC allow a month more than other charities – and that when they had all been given an extra month?

Does their reporting comply with the regulator’s requirements?

  • Yes
    • The Financial Report 2016 is a single blank page. But a report is not required.

What financial situation was shown in that Report?

  • No Report is available, but from the financial information in the AIS 2016:
    • 75% of the expenses were sent overseas as ‘Grants and donations’.
    • They made a proportionally large loss (28% of revenue).
    • Three full-time and four part-time employees somehow only cost them $54K.
    • They have no liabilities.

What did the auditor say about the last financial statements?

  • NA

If a (registered) charity, is their page on the ACNC Register complete?

  • Yes

Who are the people controlling the organisation?

  • The people under ‘Responsible Persons’ on the ACNC Register:
  • There are 29 directorships recorded for the name ‘John Anderson’, 20 for ‘David Brown’, and eight for ‘Kenneth Chapman’. And the register only covers charities, not all not-for-profits, and no for-profit organisations. Therefore, if after eliminating the charities that don’t belong to the OCF director, you are left with his total being more than a handful, it would be legitimate for you to question whether hiability to discharge his fiduciary responsibilities is threatened.
  • The above people are also the directors of OCA.
    • Even though OCA says that OCF ‘has trustees nominated from the OCA Board’, OCF’s responsible persons, because OCA is the trustee, are automatically the same people as those who are the directors of OCA.

To whom is OCF accountable?

  • To the ACNC.
  • As a public ancillary fund, to the ATO.

 

 

  1. The ‘Entity type’ they have selected on their ABN record, ‘Discretionary Investment Trust’ is therefore, although given as an option by the ACNC, not the most appropriate one.
  2. Good living and social concern are important [to the cause of evangelism], but they are not uniquely Christian graces…I’ve met a lot of fine Hindus, Muslims and atheists. Just living the life is not going to bring someone to Christ. There is much more to it than that. We must help people, certainly, but we must also share with them why we are motivated to do so. We must stand against injustice, poverty and need, but we must at the same time point to the One who brings justice and who can meet the deepest need. Until they know our reasons, how can they come to know our Lord?” [Dan Armstrong, the Fifth Gospel: The Gospel According to You, Anzea Books, pp. 13-14.