Trustee elections at actors’ charity delayed amid ‘concerns over online voting’


The results of a vote to elect new trustees at the Actors’ Benevolent Fund have been delayed while “concerns over online voting are investigated”. 

The charity had planned to announce the outcome of the elections at its annual general meeting last night but issued a statement saying the meeting had been adjourned until 29 January.

It comes after a long-running battle over the governance of the charity, which was founded in 1882 and supports actors and stage managers.

A group of former trustees, including the actors Dame Penelope Keith and James Bolam, were ousted from the board in 2022. 

They have heavily criticised the Charity Commission for allowing “a group of people to hijack a £30m+ charity under its nose”.

The regulator ordered the charity to carry out new trustee elections after finding a “breach in process” in the process to elect a new board in December 2022.

An independent group had been formed to scrutinise applications and recommended 12 trustees for election from a list of 18 candidates. 

It was hoped the process would have been concluded last night but a joint statement from trustees and candidates standing for election said: All parties are dismayed that the results of the vote could not be announced at the AGM. 

“The meeting has been adjourned until 29 January while concerns over online voting are investigated. 

“This is clearly disappointing for the ABF’s membership and we are moving at speed to achieve a resolution.”

Earlier this week, it emerged that an internal review of the Charity Commission’s handling of the row had concluded that the regulator failed to engage with the excluded trustees when it should have and upheld a complaint that it did not approach the dispute in a fair and even-handed manner.

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