§ Mr. Bryan Davies
To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the current standing of the 1983 guidance issued in respect of expenditure by student unions; how many complaints about breach of the guidance have been received; how many have been investigated; how many were substantiated; and with what results.
§ The Attorney-General
The guidance on expenditure by student unions, first issued in 1983, is still valid and applicable save that it refers to section 24 of the Charities Act 1960 which has been repealed and re-enacted in the same terms by section 29 of the Charities Act 1993.
The guidance is intended to assist union officers who may find themselves called to account for their actions as trustees of charitable moneys in the discharge of their responsibilities for union funds.
Complaints of breach of charity law made to me are referred to the Treasury Solicitor for investigation. No single continuous record is maintained, but a search of files shows that since the guidance was issued, 53 complaints have been referred to the Treasury Solicitor, all of which have been investigated.
In one case there is now no record of the result and two other cases are current.
Of the remaining cases, seven were found to be substantiated. The action taken in these cases is as follows:
- (a) in one case an injunction was obtained after one ultra vires payment to halt a proposed further payment,
- (b) in four cases repayments (in whole or in part) of ultra vires payments were secured,
- (c) in one case the union agreed not to make a proposed ultra vires payment and made arrangements to recover previous ultra vires payments, and
- (d) in one case the union agreed to discontinue ultra vires payments.