Government will address Olive Cooke issues, says Grayling | FRSB upholds complaint about Breast Cancer Campaign | Social investment added to charities bill

Plus: Big Lottery Fund gives £7m for Phillippines | Jail for woman who stole £700K from trusts | Deny charity status to private schools, says SCVO

Chris Grayling, Leader of the Hous
Chris Grayling, Leader of the Hous

The government will address the issues raised by the death of the poppy seller Olive Cooke, Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, told MPs this week.

In response to a question in the Commons, he said it was a "shocking case" and an example of "wholly inappropriate behaviour". Cooke was found dead in the Avon Gorge in Bristol earlier this month, having reportedly been deluged by fundraising requests from charities.

The Fundraising Standards Board has referred a complaint about a telephone fundraising call made on behalf of Breast Cancer Campaign to the Information Commissioner’s Office because of concerns that data protection laws were broken.

In an adjudication on 29 May, the FRSB said that a phone call by the fundraising agency Insight CCI on behalf of Breast Cancer Campaign had breached two parts of the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice and potentially breached the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

Legislation to give more powers to the Charity Commission has been widened to include measures to disqualify people from working in senior management positions at charities and to allow voluntary sector organisations to make social investments.

In this week's Queen’s Speech, the government announced there would be a Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill that would include new powers for the regulator to ban people with convictions for criminal offences, such as terrorism or money laundering, from being charity trustees.

A former employee in the trust department of the accountancy firm Grant Thornton has been jailed for 40 months for embezzling more than £700,000 from trusts that were set up to help charities, including Save the Children.

Susan McMahon, 34, from Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, was sentenced to 40 months imprisonment at Glasgow Sheriff Court last week. She had pleaded guilty to embezzling £726,765 between 2006 and 2013 at a hearing last month.

The Big Lottery Fund has awarded £3.9m to Plan UK and £3.2m to Save the Children to support their work in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. The money comes from its  £80m International Communities programme, a five-year scheme set up in 2010 to support disadvantaged communities around the world.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has said fee-charging schools should not have charitable status and has called for a government review of charity law. In its response to a consultation by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s draft guidance on the charity test, the SCVO said the test was not working because it allowed fee-paying schools that spent only a small proportion of their income on means-tested bursaries to have charitable status.


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