Friday 28 September 2018

Brain you can't Trust

What's this, what's number 15 and why is it missing?

Since we're doing a couple of things on Ray's iffy organisations this week, the above is a little snippet from the latest accounts of the Brain Trust, Ray and Tony's* laughable "charity".

You can find the relevant documents at Companies House, and the accounts from which the above are taken are those for the year ending 31 March 2017. We'll get back to them shortly, but before we do, I'd like you to look at the previous set of accounts, for the year ending 31 March 2016. Have a look around, see if there's any names you recognise, but when you're ready, we'll start with this bit. It lists the various lucky beneficiaries to whom the Brain Trust chose to distribute money that year that it had raised.

You might find some of those names vaguely familiar - Mind Mapping is Tony Buzan of course, and long-memoried readers may remember Vesna Petkovic from here - but unless you're either an accountant or have spoken to one, you might not know what this is about.

Because I'm a good guy, I'll tell you as much as I know.

This ain't much, but as far as I'm aware, SORP - Statement of Recommended Practice - recommends that charity accounts state when money is being disbursed to organisations connected with "related parties". So, for instance, this may apply.
The disclosure of certain transactions is important for stewardship purposes to provide assurance that the charity is operating for the public benefit and that its trustees are acting in the interests of their charity and not for private benefit. For this reason, this SORP requires that disclosure must be made of transactions involving trustees, related parties, staff remuneration and ex-gratia payments.
So for this reason, the 2016 accounts have a section that attempts to do just that. "Related party transactions", all of which are related to Ray.

Now I am not an accountant, but it surprises me that that section is as short as it is, given that, for instance, we have already established that the World Mind Mapping Council, £6240 better off that year due to Brain Trust donations, is a Tony Buzan operation, and Tony's listed as a Trustee.

That aside, I think all the organisations listed as beneficiaries are connected to Ray, Tony, and their circle, but let us content ourselves for the moment with the fact that these accounts, do, at least, have a section 15 for the purpose of making declarations about related parties.

As we know, the accounts for 2017 do not.

Before we get on to those accounts, I wanted to note that while both sets of accounts come with an "independent examiner's statement" (which of course they have to) the statements are not by the same people (which of course they do not have to be). The 2016 accounts were examined by Peter Musgrave of Blick Rothenberg

and those for 2017, by David Massey.

Unlike the chap from Blick Rothenberg, Mr Massey gives no address, although I can't help wondering if he's the same David Massey who was CEO of Brain Games Network all those years ago.

Still, whoever he is, he's the guy in charge of signing off the 2017 accounts, which listed that year's disbursements as follows.

So that's twelve grand to Professor Michael Crawford - who is supposedly the Dean of The Gifted Academy, who we met yesterday and fourteen grand and change to the Institute for Brain Chemistry whose proprietor is Michael Crawford and whose Director of the Governing Council, if there is such a thing, is somebody we have also met before.

Plus sixty grand in donations of five thousand or less, which were mostly listed the previous year but this time, for some reason, were not.

Still, despite the apparent reduction in transparency, we can assure ourselves, elsewhere in the accounts, that payments have not been made unreasonably to "related parties", can't we?

Oh. No we can't.

I can't imagine they meant to leave it like that. But how come they didn't notice? What were they actually trying to do? How do accounts so shoddily produced get approved anyway? And who does get all the money that the Brain Trust raises?

* for the record, Tony Buzan is not currently a director

1 comment:

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