Former BeatBullying executives, including Ross Banford and Sarah Dyer, set up new company a week after liquidation

Founder Emma-Jane Cross and Mark Allison are also involved in Digital Impacts, which was registered at Companies House on 14 November

Ross Banford and Sarah Dyer
Ross Banford and Sarah Dyer

The founder and three other former executives of the collapsed charity BeatBullying have set up a company to deliver public services online, Third Sector has learned.

Digital Impacts says on its website that it has developed "an online model that can deliver public services (not-for-profit) in a personalised way – efficiently and cost-effectively".

Emma-Jane Cross, the founder and former chief executive of BB, is listed on the digital company’s website as its managing director. Sarah Dyer, BB’s former group digital director, is listed as digital director. Ross Banford, former commercial director of BB, has taken up a similar role at the new company, and Mark Allison, who held a senior technology role at the charity, has become lead developer.

BB went into voluntary liquidation on 7 November owing about £1m after it failed to secure grants worth about £2.3m from Department of Health and the European Commission.

The charity’s collapse angered some of its employees, service users and suppliers and has led to calls for action to be taken because of potential mismanagement.

A source close to BeatBullying, who asked not to be named, said: "Unbelievable. Rack up mountains of debt, then start over, after abandoning your employees, volunteers and creditors."

BB’s work included online support and mentoring to young people with issues involving bullying and mental health. It also set up the community interest company We Are Cosmo to develop the software that operated the charity’s online counselling and mentoring services and market it to other organisations.

The new company is offering a range of services, including the design of training packages for digital workforces and moderators, and the development of safeguarding plans for staff and clients. The website says the company can "help you with business planning, as well as work with you on fundraising bids and developing future income streams".

It will also help public services to build a framework that allows employees and volunteers to support, deliver and evaluate front-line services digitally, and to evolve their services digitally to match the needs of their clients.

Documents filed with Companies House show that Digital Impacts was registered on 14 November, seven days after BB was placed into liquidation. They list Dyer and Banford as the only directors and shareholders.

Banford told Third Sector in a statement: "Digitised public services, we believe, are critical to the future of the third sector and the wider social and support services it delivers. Moving public services online will provide more help to more people, more efficiently.

"Digital Impacts is a new agency for digital public services. We have developed and are delivering a new product that can assist organisations in the third, social and public sectors to achieve their social aims based on the needs of their clients in an efficient and cost-effective way."

Karl Wilding, a trustee of BeatBullying, told Third Sector in a statement that it had "no concerns" about the former BB executives who had set up Digital Impacts.

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