Commission slams decision for payout to cancer charity

The Charity Commission has criticised the Local Government Ombudsman for upholding a decision to tell Portsmouth City Council to pay £1,000 in compensation to a local charity it had refused a street collection licence.

The council's licensing committee refused the Caring Cancer Trust a licence in December 1999, citing the amount it spent on management, the refusal of trustees to undergo criminal record checks and an ongoing Charity Commission investigation over incorrectly presented accounts.

In 2000, the Local Government Ombudsman ruled that the council had no authority over these matters, which were solely a matter for the Charity Commission. It recommended that the council pay £1,000 to the charity in compensation and last week upheld the decision at an appeal.

But Simon Gillespie, the Commission's director of operations, slammed the decision: "The decision is wrong in law and fails to give the public confidence that charity collections are properly controlled. We support Portsmouth City Council for taking its responsibilities to the people of Portsmouth and charities seriously," he said.

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