Charities invited to submit evidence on CharityGiving distribution process

The High Court will rule on how initial sums of money from the suspended donations website should be distributed to more than 1,800 charities


The Charity Commission has invited the more than 1,800 charities that are owed money by the suspended donations website CharityGiving to give their views on how the initial funds should be distributed.

The commission asked the High Court last year to rule on how the first sums of money from CharityGiving, which is run by the charity the Dove Trust, should be distributed to charities.

After a directions hearing last week, the commission said it wanted to hear evidence from charities that are owed money from the site before a full hearing takes place later this year.

The regulator suspended CharityGiving last year and appointed an interim manager to oversee the Dove Trust in order to protect charity funds.

The commission said at the time that the interim manager, Pesh Framjee of Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP, had found that there appeared to be a shortfall between the funds due to charities to which people had donated through CharityGiving and the cash held by the Dove Trust.

Framjee estimated that the Dove Trust’s potential liabilities were about £2.2m, most of which is owed to charities.

The commission said in December that about £500,000 was available for initial distribution to more than 1,800 charities and good causes that are owed money.

But it had asked the High Court to rule on the fairest method of distributing these funds, because there were several options.

It said yesterday that charities that are owed funds could submit evidence to the regulator on the distribution of funds before the High Court considers the case – this is expected to take place between 1 June and 31 October.

Evidence could include items such as the conditions that charities signed up to when they started using CharityGiving, a commission spokeswoman said.

She said the evidence should be related to the distribution process and not to how much money charities were owed. 

Kenneth Dibble, head of legal services at the Charity Commission, said: "We do not expect that all charities affected will wish to present evidence, but we know that some charities affected do have coherent legal arguments or evidence to support a certain approach to distributing the funds."

Interested organisations have until 23 April to provide evidence to the commission. Any charities that want to take part in the proceedings have until 1 May to serve notice, the regulator said.

The trust’s founder, Keith Colman, who the commission said resigned as a trustee of the charity before he could be removed, lodged appeals with the charity tribunal earlier this year against the appointment of an interim manager and restrictions on its bank accounts imposed by the Charity Commission.

The commission’s investigation into the Dove Trust continues.

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