Verdict on parents' charity still delayed

27th June 1997 at 01:00
The long-awaited report on a Charity Commission investigation into the troubled National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations has been delayed once again.

Winckworth and Pemberton, solicitors for the organisation, and Judith Wood, its national chairman, had expected to receive it last Friday. The report was originally due at the end of May. Mrs Wood, a mother of five who became chairman last month, said it had been promised each Friday since then.

"We are at the end of our tether," she said. "We want everything out in the open."

It is understood that the report, which follows an in-depth inquiry into the affairs of the 40-year-old organisation, has been delayed for "stylistic" reasons.

The report is said to be undergoing a design revamp and new sections are being added to include a who's who of the key players within the NCPTA, and to distinguish more clearly between mandatory changes and advisory recommendations.

Three employees - including Margaret Morrissey, its press officer - have already been asked to resign by the commissioners and warned that they could liable to repay tens of thousands of pounds in salaries and expenses.

When it is finally published - the Charity Commission was giving no date this week - the report will be potentially explosive for the organisation, which has been riven with dissent and bitter infighting.

The commission was called in earlier this year by Sean Rogers and Sandi Marshall, who were removed as trustees by the national executive last year.

Mr Rogers, the then-chair elect, and Ms Marshall, a former television journalist, had complained about the 12,000-member organisation's management and financial controls.

Mr Rogers is no stranger to controversy, having previously been suspended by the national Labour party when he was a Labour councillor in Trafford. He this week described the delay as deeply frustrating.

Dispute within the NCPTA is nothing new. Six years ago Philip Woods, who had been appointed general manager just six months before, was dismissed after a weekend meeting of the NCPTA's executive committee.

Last year Michael Pepper, a former project leader with the Benefits Agency, walked out three months after being appointed to the newly-created post of chief executive.

Four years ago Sheila Naybour, a former NCPTA press officer, attempted to instigate a Charity Commission investigation.

Mr Rogers said: " I trust that this delay for presentational reasons means that the commission appreciate that the report should no longer be circulated internally but should now be made available for public scrutiny."

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