Big Society Network grant was influenced by No 10 | BeatBullying owed creditors £1m | Save the Children staff oppose Blair award

Plus: Asda Foundation director quits over grants scandal | Health Lottery advert banned | Labour would make private schools support state schools or lose rate relief

Big Society Network
Big Society Network

The Prime Minister’s Office asked the Cabinet Office to provide £150,000 of funding for the Big Society Network despite concerns about the BSN’s performance. A report from the National Audit Office says that Nick Hurd, the former Minister for Civil Society, agreed to provide the funding for the Big Society Network to operate the Big Society Awards even though his department believed that the organisation had underperformed.

The BeatBullying Group went into voluntary liquidation owing in the region of £1m, a meeting of creditors has heard. Figures compiled for the meeting show that there are 193 creditors, believed to be owed £989,000 between them. The final figure could be higher because the amounts owed are yet to be confirmed.

Almost 200 members of staff at Save the Children have signed an internal letter calling on the charity to withdraw an award given to the former Prime Minister Tony Blair for leadership in international development. According to The Guardian and The Times newspapers, the letter said that the decision to give Blair the award was "morally reprehensible" and that it endangered the charity’s credibility. Save the Children UK said in a statement that neither it nor Justin Forsyth, Save the Children UK’s chief executive, who previously worked as a special adviser to Blair, had given the award. It was made by Save the Children US on 19 November.

Paul Kelly, the chair of the Asda Foundation and also a former senior executive at the supermarket chain, has resigned after police were called in to examine why payments of up to £180,000 were made to a non-charitable dance company of which he was a director. A spokesman for the foundation said that the money, which was originally intended for people affected by flooding in Somerset and elsewhere last winter, was paid from the charity to Murley Dance without the knowledge or authority of the rest of the 12-person board. It is understood that David Murley, founder and artistic director of the firm, is Kelly's partner.

An advertisement promoting the Health Lottery has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority because it "condoned and encouraged gambling behaviour". The advert, which appeared on Channel 5’s video-on-demand service Demand 5, promoted an online direct-debit offer for the Health Lottery in which people could have two weeks’ worth of tickets for free if they signed up online and paid for their tickets monthly.

A Labour government would require private schools to draw up agreements setting out how they would support their state counterparts or face losing their business rate relief, according to shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt. In a speech at Walthamstow Academy in north London, Hunt said that his party would amend the Local Government Act 1988 to make the relief payable only when fee-charging schools met a new "schools partnership standard".

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