Charity Commission Investigation into the NRA

1998

In 1998 the Charity Commission required the NRA to transfer its commercial activities into a separate company. The National Shooting Centre (NSC) was formed to carry out commercial activities. A subsequent review was carried out by the Charity Commission in 2005 and they required that separation be more properly documented and a short services agreement was entered
into between the NRA and NSC.

In 2019 the Charity Commission once again required the NRA and NSC be clearly separated…the Trustees are now being spoon fed their lines so that they can be seen to answer any questions correctly..

Extract from NRA General Council Minute 06-09-19

2001

We have found out that the Department of Trade & Industry, alongside the Charity Commission, investigated the NRA for ‘impropriety’ and ‘lack of transparency’ in 2001. According to the NRA’s Winter Journal 2001, Nick Hinchliffe QC, then Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee writes “The documents studied so far run into hundreds of pages. They include correspondence with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Charity Commissioners. I have no doubt that any formal Inquiry would require the production of many more documents. Having given the matter considerable thought the Disciplinary Committee has decided that it does not believe it to be appropriate for it to hold a formal Inquiry. The reasons for this were:

Firstly, a full Inquiry, as envisaged by Council, would take a considerable amount of time. There are practical difficulties in members of the Disciplinary Committee giving up time from work and families, and meeting at one location with sufficient time to undertake any meaningful Inquiry involving the examination of witnesses and the taking of evidence.

Secondly, we do not believe we have any legal power to compel the attendance of witnesses and call for the production of documents.

Thirdly, there is a strong feeling amongst the Disciplinary Committee that any Inquiry undertaken by it would not be seen to be sufficiently independent to satisfy all concerned. Many of us could not, in all conscience, proceed with such an Inquiry without first declaring personal friendships with many of those individuals concerned.


2018 & 2019

While there have been numerous accounts of the NRA being accused of not fulfilling its charitable purpose, (such as the Annual General Meeting in 2016 and 2018) the most noteworthy is a letter sent by the Charity Commission (CC) to John Webster, Chairman of the NRA in May 2019. This information was apparently not initially shared with trustees.

Below is a list of actions set by the Commission’s regulatory advice and guidance. In it, the CC notes if the charity trustees do not take the recommended steps, they risk being in breach of their legal duties as charity trustees in the administration of the Charity.

  • The Charity has engaged in activities that do not fulfil charitable purposes for the promotion of the efficiency of the Armed Forces and the defence of the Realm and cannot be said to be incidental to their achievement. This is a breach of trust.
  • The Charity has misrepresented the scope of its permissible activities in its TAR, strategic plan on its website.
  • The responsibilities of the trustees in relation to decision making, in the disposal of land, have been met and are decision that a responsible board of trustees can make in the circumstances.
  • The cost of legal fees in relation to matters being decided through litigated arbitration proceedings and disputed leases.
  • The trustees have failed to identify whether the current trustee body has the necessary skills and experience to take the Charity forward.
  • The trustees have not adhered to Commission guidance for good governance of trading subsidiaries.
  • The trustees need to be accountable and transparent and manage disputes effectively.
  • The trustees should manage conflicts of interest or loyalty and matters of health and safety effectively.

Charity Commission report to John Webster 30 May 2019 – Click Here

Charity Commission report to Adam Holloway MP 31 May 2019 – Click Here

Is the NRA fit for purpose? YouTube Video – Click Here

2020 Charity Commission Continues to investigate NRA “due to the seriousness of this issue”.

Click here for full details of the 4 areas of focus for the Charity Commission investigation into the National Rifle Association