Regulator aware of ‘new concerns’ about SPAC Nation as police review fraud claims

19 Nov 2019 News

The Charity Commission has said that it is “aware of a range of serious and troubling concerns” relating to the church charity SPAC Nation.

Earlier this month the regulator said it would be urgently contacting the charity after it posted a tweet which appeared to support a political candidate.  

Now, following reports in the Guardian and the Huffington Post, the Commission has said it will be looking into allegations of safeguarding failures.

The Metropolitan Police has also been alerted, with a spokesperson saying the Met has “received allegations that pertain to potential fraud and other possible offences” surrounding SPAC Nation. 

The spokesperson said: “Officers are reviewing the allegations to identify if any criminal offences have potentially been committed. Once this review is complete, a decision will be made as to whether a criminal investigation is launched. We cannot comment any further at this time.”

'Range of serious and troubling concerns'

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: “We are aware of a range of serious and troubling concerns about the charity SPAC Nation, which have been the subject of media reporting over the past week.  

“Protecting people and safeguarding should be a governance priority for all charities, not just those working with children or groups traditionally considered at risk. We are following up on the new concerns raised with the trustees and are considering our next regulatory steps. We have not drawn any regulatory conclusions on these matters.

“The charity was already subject to a regulatory compliance case when the most recent concerns were aired in the media, and we are engaging with the trustees on the charity’s compliance with an action plan we had set them in June.”

The Charity Commission does not investigate allegations of criminality and said “we urge anyone with concerns about criminal abuse to make reports to the police”.

It added that because its regulatory engagement with SPAC Nation is ongoing, it cannot make any further comment.

The Commission's ongoing regulatory compliance case is examining governance matters at the charity, and the regulator has issued the trustees with an action plan under section 15(2) of the Charities Act 2011. Its regulatory compliance case was opened in February 2019.

Finances

The data for the financial year ending 31 December 2018 on the Commission’s website puts SPAC Nation’s income at £1.2m and spending at £1.2m. 

Under its general administrative costs, it reports that its community outreach cost £180,224 and rallies expenses cost £63,000.

SPAC Nation was approached for comment about the latest investigations.

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