Regulator freezes bank accounts of Bristol charity 

01 May 2024 News


The Charity Commission has frozen a Bristol-based charity’s bank accounts to safeguard its funds as part of a recently-opened investigation.

It opened its statutory inquiry into the We Care Foundation on 25 January this year and plans to look into concerns around trustees’ decision-making and payments from the charity to its trustees and their related companies.

On 12 March, it made an order to freeze the bank accounts of the charity, which provides financial and other aid to victims of war or natural disaster overseas, as well as aid for refugees in Bristol.

Regulator engagement

The Commission began engaging with the charity in June 2022 before opening a statutory inquiry after identifying concerns in its governance and financial management. 

It says these concerns included substantial payments from the charity to its trustees and companies for which they are directors. 

The regulator said the payments were not disclosed in the charity’s accounts and had not been adequately explained.

It also said there was a period when the charity had only two trustees, who were married at the time, and their decision-making should have been limited to appointing the required number of trustees. 

The Commission is concerned that significant decisions about the charity’s finances and management were made at this time.

Its inquiry will examine failures by the charity’s trustee board to engage with the Commission including whether the trustees provided true and accurate information to the regulator at all times.

The Commission will also look at any unauthorised connected-party payments and trustee personal benefits, including an examination of the charity’s contractual arrangements with third parties.

Charity: ‘We are fully cooperating’

We Care Foundation said it had actively engaged with the Commission, welcoming guidance, support, and an action plan.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “We are fully cooperating with the commission and are dedicated to resolving this matter as quickly as possible.

“Our priority remains serving our community and fulfilling our mission with integrity.”

The charity recorded an income of £216,000 in the year to April 2023, including £116,000 from a government contract, and a total expenditure of £232,000.

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