Cancer Care Foundation inquiry bill set to top £500k

Charity Commission's eight-year investigation ends

The long-running Charity Commission investigation into the Cancer Care Foundation has finally concluded after almost eight years at a cost to the charity likely to exceed £500,000, according to its latest accounts.

The London-based charity was set up in 1996 to support cancer sufferers and their families and to give grants to hospices.

The inquiry was opened in August 2002 after concerns were raised about the level of expenses and funds raised by the charity's fundraising subsidiary, Caring Together. The inquiry report is yet to be published.

The regulator appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers as interim manager in September 2003. Investigations into the relationship between the charity and the fundraising subsidiary "resulted in litigation against certain third parties which took several years to conclude", according to the accounts for 2004 to 2008, which were submitted to the Charity Commission in March. The litigation was settled on confidential terms.

Caring Together and another subsidiary, CCF Trading, went into voluntary liquidation in 2004. The accounts show that a payroll giving agency, Charity Direct, run by the charity at its own expense, was deemed "inappropriate" and transferred to the Charities Aid Foundation in 2004 for £1.

Four new trustees were appointed in April 2009 after the litigation ended. The interim managers were finally discharged in March after the submission of the overdue accounts.

The accounts show that the charity's total income between 2004 and 2008 was £4.2m, with expenditure of only £1.6m. The report says £580,000 was paid to beneficiaries and £490,000 to the interim manager in this period. The cost to the charity of the interim manager from January 2008 to March 2010 has not yet been disclosed.

Andrew Brown, a charity consultant and member of pressure group the Association for Charities, said: "The charity was raising money and disbursing it in the UK to other charities. It was a very simple business plan.

"This disgraceful case has been a gravy train for the interim manager and its consultants, approved by the Charity Commission."

PricewaterhouseCoopers declined to comment on the case.

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