Two interim managers have been appointed by the Charity Commission to take over the day-to-day running of Families Against Neuroblastoma, after the regulator opened a statutory inquiry into the charity because of concerns about its governance and financial management.
John Ariel and Steven Law, restructuring and recovery partners at the accountancy firm Baker Tilly, were appointed on 15 July to take control of the charity to the exclusion of its existing trustees, and will remain in place until a new board of trustees can be appointed.
The commission opened an inquiry into the charity on 13 June. Families Against Neuroblastoma provides financial assistance to families affected by the disease, a form of cancer, as well as running awareness campaigns and funding research.
The investigation was launched because of a number of concerns, the regulator said, but its focus was risks to the charity’s assets because of a lack of proper governance structure.
A spokeswoman for the charity said it would not comment on the situation, directing all inquiries to Baker Tilly.
A spokesman for the accountancy firm said the interim managers had sent a letter to families with which the charity works.
The letter says: "Our role as interim managers is firstly to secure the charity’s funds, and I would like to put your mind at rest that we have done so; and thereafter to take control of the day-to-day running of the charity assisted by the remaining staff, until such time as a new board of trustees can be appointed."
The letter continues: "I would like to reassure families that we are continuing to operate the charity as normal, which will enable beneficiaries to access the funds raised by their appeals in case of need."
In the year to 31 March 2013, the charity had an income of £1,410,455 and spent £472,667. The charity was registered with the commission in May 2010 and also had income substantially higher than its spending in each of its financial years, leaving it with £1.9m of funds carried forward at the end of 2012/13.
The accounts for that year say: "In our third year we have achieved a great start to the transition process that has taken us from a ‘kitchen table’ charity with zero employees wholly reliant on voluntary income, into a larger organisational structure with office space, a commercial enterprise and employees."