‘Running’ of Manor Residents’ Association called into question

Angie Wilcox
Angie Wilcox

A GOVERNMENT watchdog has called into question the “wider running” of a residents charity after it was forced to give a cleaner £9,000 for paying her less than the minimum wage.

The Charity Commission also revealed Manor Residents’ Association has failed to submit its accounts and annual returns on time.

The commission started to look into the case after receiving a complaint.

It comes after employment judge Andrew Buchanan described the actions of the charity as “outrageous” which led to calls for manager Angie Wilcox to resign from her role as a Hartlepool councillor.

Linda Gooding, 56, was awarded £8,805 at an employment tribunal after she worked for the charity for three years on less than the minimum wage and repeatedly did not get paid.

The charity watchdog says the case could point to issues about the wider running of Manor Residents Association, based in Kilmarnock Road.

A spokesman said: “The issues identified during that tribunal do cause us regulatory concern as they could point to wider governance problems at the charity.

“We will therefore be writing to the charity’s trustees to help us establish what, if any, role there might be for us.

“We will also be raising the fact that the charity’s latest annual accounts and annual return are overdue.

“Please note this does not mean we are formally investigating at this stage.”

The tribunal heard how Mrs Gooding, of Forfar Road, Hartlepool, worked 37 hours a week for the charity for £5.40 an hour, less than the national minimum wage of £6.19.

She was employed by the residents association from February 2010 until last December.

But Mrs Gooding’s never saw a contract of employment and did not get a payslip for two and a half years.

She also brought claims against the charity for breach of contract, unpaid holiday pay, failure to give written statements of employment and failure to give itemised pay statements.

Since the case there have been repeated calls for Councillor Wilcox to quit and for a probe into the centre.

Coun Wilcox said: “We will work with The Charity Commission regarding any concerns.”