Venture Southland drops 'charitable' title

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2014

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Venture Southland will change the name of its charitable trust and introduce regular reporting to its directorate.

A Venture Southland directorate agenda, containing the confidential information, was inadvertently sent to The Southland Times this week.

It proposes that the Venture Southland Charitable Trust be changed to Venture Southland Trust.

Mr Casson said his report to the board was supposed to be taken as confidential at a meeting next Monday. The title change was part of an ongoing review of internal processes and systems, he said.

In his report, Mr Casson says the audit committee and [Venture Southland] directorate currently had no knowledge of the charitable trust operations and activities - even though the activities of the trust get rolled into the Venture Southland end of year accounts, and is seen as a risk.

Last November the directorate requested the trust's accounts and activities have regular accountability and report back. The charitable trust was set up in May 2003 but lost its charitable status four to five years go, the report says.

"It is now timely to review and register the change of title to the ‘Trust', review terms of reference, and schedule regular meetings, and introduce regular reporting back to the directorate of Venture Southland."

Mr Casson's report says during 2013, the status of the trust was challenged by external parties asking why it had not registered with the charities trust, if this was to avoid supplying public accounts and asking what the trust spent money on.

The trust was set up as a charitable and registered entity but was declined under the new Charities Act and its work was commercially sensitive and confidential.

It says the trust authorises and facilitates funds and can commission work by external third parties in support of various projects.

The report also says the trust is registered on the Companies Office Societies and Trusts website and says the publication of accounts would possibly compromise the confidentiality of commercial information.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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