Sick Kids Friends Foundation cleared by Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

Overspend on New Pyjamas campaign was not caused by administrative misconduct, says report by regulator

Scottish charity the Sick Kids Friends Foundation has been cleared of misconduct after an investigation by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator into allegations that it spent about £500,000 on a fundraising campaign that yielded only £60,000.

The charity launched the New Pyjamas campaign, set up to raise funds for extra facilities at a children’s hospital, in 2008. Press reports in February 2010 suggested the campaign’s return on investment had been poor, and the OSCR received a complaint that the charity’s trustees had been aware of concerns about the campaign and had failed to take action.

The OSCR’s report on the inquiry, published yesterday, says: "OSCR was primarily concerned to establish whether the relatively high level of expenditure against return was planned as part of a long term strategy or whether this could be indicative of governance issues within the charity.

"Initial discussion with charity trustee representatives confirmed that, at November 2009, there was a considerable income shortfall of around £5m against least optimistic scenarios, whilst around £500,000 had been expended on costs relating to the campaign."

The report says there was a "considerable overspend on the campaign", but this was not caused by misconduct in the administration of the charity by its trustees. It says the trustees had sought professional advice in developing the campaign strategy.

It asks the trustees to review the charity’s constitution and provide clarity on decision-making.

A spokesman for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation said: "We accept the findings of the report and are glad that the OSCR has indicated the matter is now closed.

"We are disappointed that the New Pyjamas campaign was unsuccessful, but the Sick Kids Friends Foundation has an outstanding track record in its own right and has raised in excess of £15m during its lifespan."

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