NI regulator closes its year-long inquiry into the animal charity the USPCA

The inquiry arose from concerns about administration and governance; the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland continues to monitor the charity

Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland has closed its year-long statutory inquiry into the animal charity the USPCA, saying it is "satisfied that the level of risk has reduced", although it is continuing to monitor the organisation.

The CCNI opened its inquiry into the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – which is separate from the England and Wales charity the RSPCA – in December 2013. The CCNI has never given details about the case beyond saying it arose from concerns about the charity’s administration and governance.

In June, the charity appealed against the opening of the inquiry at the charity tribunal, but the following month applied for this appeal to be adjourned in order for the USPCA and the CCNI to come to a resolution out of court. Both parties were criticised by the tribunal for their handling of the matter.

In September, the appeal’s withdrawal was allowed by the tribunal.

The statutory inquiry was closed on 6 February. A spokeswoman for the regulator said: "The commission has worked with the charity to resolve the governance issues identified and, as a result, is satisfied that the level of risk has reduced. The commission has now closed its statutory inquiry into the USPCA and is continuing to work with the charity to provide regulatory guidance and monitor the situation."

The CCNI’s board minutes for December note that the USPCA had recently held an annual general meeting and put new trustees and procedures in place.

The regulator will publish a full report on the inquiry later this year, the spokeswoman said. A spokesman for the USPCA said the charity would not comment on the matter until after the report had been published.

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