The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into a children’s cancer charity after the arrest of a trustee and charity employee.
Kids ’n’ Cancer, which provides financial support and assistance for children seeking cancer treatments, has been in contact with the Charity Commission since 2014, when the regulator identified weaknesses in the charity’s administration and issued an action plan, which it said the trustees addressed.
In 2014, the charity set up a fundraising campaign to provide specialist cancer treatment for Ashya King, whose parents removed him from a UK hospital and took him to Spain, but who eventually received treatment paid for by the NHS.
In April 2015 the charity reimbursed all the donors who asked for their money back, which the Charity Commission said ended its concerns about the appeal, but the regulator said at the time that a case examining the charity’s fundraising and financial controls would continue.
In a statement, the Charity Commission said that further concerns about the charity’s administration and financial controls had now arisen because of the arrest of the trustee and employee, and it had therefore launched an inquiry and frozen the charity’s bank accounts.
The inquiry will look specifically at the charity’s governance, because only one trustee remains active, and the extent to which trustees have properly authorised benefits and remuneration to a trustee and an employee.
The trustees’ management of the charity’s financial affairs will also be scrutinised by the commission, including the charity’s financial controls, fundraising activities connected with specific beneficiaries, the application of funds and the risk to charity property.
The commission said it was cooperating with a Derbyshire Constabulary investigation of the charity.
According to the Charity Commission website, the charity had an income of £445,441 and spent £569,955 in the year to 31 October 2015, but its annual return was submitted on 3 January 2017 – 125 days late.
Kids ’n’ Cancer did not reply to a request for comment before publication.