BeatBullying sends serious incident report to Charity Commission

The regulator says it is looking into concerns about the anti-bullying charity, which appointed administrators because of 'significant financial challenges'

Charity Commission
Charity Commission

The Charity Commission has said that it is looking into concerns raised about the troubled charity BeatBullying.

Third Sector revealed on Monday that the anti-bullying charity had decided to appoint administrators because it was facing "significant financial challenges".

A spokeswoman for the commission said this week that concerns had been raised about BeatBullying in recent weeks and the regulator had received a serious incident report from the charity.

She said the commission was assessing what role it might have and was unable to comment further.

Neither the commission nor the charity was able to confirm what the serious incident report was about.

Guidance on the commission website says that charities should file a serious incident report when something has happened that could cause or has resulted in a loss of charitable funds or assets, damage to a charity’s property, or harm to a charity’s work, beneficiaries or reputation.

This could include incidents such as fraud, links to terrorism, a large donation from an unknown source, or the threat of going into administration.

A statement issued on behalf of the BeatBullying trustees said: "We have legal duties as both trustees and company directors and we are bound to adhere to these. Saying anything further conflicts with these duties, so we will not be making any further public statements at the moment.

"We are absolutely certain that this is in the best interests of anyone connected with the BeatBullying Group."

It has also emerged that We Are Cosmo, a community interest company set up by BeatBullying to develop the software that operates the charity’s online counselling and mentoring services and market it to other organisations, is almost a year late in filing its first set of accounts.

Records on Companies House website show that We Are Cosmo was registered with Companies House in February 2012 and was due to file its first set of accounts in November last year, but it has not yet done so.

Companies House began the process of striking off the CIC in February, the Companies House website shows, but stopped it a month later.

BeatBullying last week replaced its website with a message saying that its services were down and directing people in need of support to Samaritans or ChildLine.

A source close to BeatBullying, who asked not to be named, said that the charity’s staff and arm’s-length contractors, such as counsellors and website moderators, had been receiving only half-pay since August.

The source said that the charity’s offices in Crystal Palace, south-east London, were locked last week.

The charity’s most recent set of accounts show that it made a loss of £280,065 on an income of slightly less than £2.4m in 2012. Its income for 2012 was down by £187,739 on the previous year.

Its entry on the Charity Commission website says that it has 44 employees, and more than 5,400 volunteers.

BeatBullying was founded in 1999 by Emma-Jane Cross, who remains its chief executive, and was registered as a charity in 2003.

The Cabinet Office last year gave a £500,000 grant to the charity to expand Mindfull, its online mental health service for children and young people.

An electronic petition calling for "help to be provided" to reopen the charity’s services has attracted more than 100 signatures.

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