The SPCK Annual General Meeting is coming up, and the annual report and accounts for 2008-9 are online. There is a passing reference to the former SPCK bookshops:
"SPCK continues to have a number of significant legal issues with Saint Stephen the Great Charitable Trust in regard to matters connected with the former SPCK Bookshops. The Charity Commission has appointed an Interim Manager for the Trust, and progress is being made." (page 6)
Others have stronger views than I over how much responsibility SPCK should shoulder for handing over their bookshops (and staff, customers, and suppliers) to a family of charlatans, who have unfairly dismissed over 30 former staff, been censured in the US courts for a fraudulent bankrupcty claim, and finally been booted out by the Charity Commissioners.
Some better news for former staff: the report reveals that their pension scheme, which is managed by the CofE pension folks (as far as I can tell), had a big shortfall as a result of the CofE revaluing its pensions (though it was struggling before this). SPCK has started making additional payments into the fund of £285,000 to top it up. This is going to be paid for the next 15 years, and the whole amount has been put on this years balance sheet - £3,832,000.
So though the pension fund has imploded, SPCK are at least doing their bit to support former bookshop staff on this front.
Couple of other things:
- SPCK have nearly £300k in a restricted fund for Newcastle Bible House, which seems to be for the purpose of Christian retailing in Newcastle. What's going to happen to this?
- Do the premises of former bookshops still belong to SPCK, or were they completely made over to the Brewers? The shops, as I understand, were given over with restrictive covenant, and at least one has been sold on by the Brewers for another use. Not sure what the legal situation is here, whether the shops revert to SPCK if the covenant has been transgressed.