The payroll giving agency Workplace Giving UK has gone into administration, making it the sixth company within the Fundraising Initiatives Group to cease trading this year.
Workplace Giving, whose initiatives included funding the Geared for Giving campaign to encourage more employers to promote payroll giving, has made 25 redundancies, its managing director Peter O’Hara confirmed.
Staff at WGUK, whose accounts for 2013 were almost two months overdue at the time of its closure, according to Companies House, were made redundant on 4 December and were paid up to the end of November.
The administrators David Rubin & Partners have been appointed to wind up WGUK, which was set up by Cathy Sullivan, the chief executive of Fundraising Initiatives, and her husband Kenneth Bauso in 2004.
Several other subsidiaries of the group ceased trading this year. Fundraising Initiatives Limited and Person to Person (P2P) Direct were put into administration in November, while the telephone agency R Fundraising, which was acquired by Fundraising Initiatives in January, closed down in July with the loss of 99 jobs.
O’Hara, who was involved with WGUK since its first year of operation, said that the debts of the agency’s parent company had led to its demise. Fundraising Initiatives (Holdings)’s latest accounts show that the company had debts of £3.4m in 2013.
"I’m obviously incredibly upset that stuff that happened centrally has affected us," O’Hara told Third Sector. "I’ve done everything I could to make sure this didn’t happen but events overtook me. It’s been a very stressful two months for me personally and for the team. We worked up to the end to make sure all our work was completed and there were no donations outstanding."
Asked if staff would receive a redundancy payout, O’Hara said this would be statutory.
O’Hara said he attempted to buy WGUK from Fundraising Initiatives but that a deal could not be reached because the agency had shared IT and other services with the wider group which were difficult to separate out.
"That’s what we were trying to do over the last six weeks but you couldn’t do that," he said.
The property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton also attempted to find a third-party buyer for the agency but this was unsuccessful.
O’Hara said he would like to continue working in the sector but had not yet established his next move. He said that WGUK raised £100m for charity during its 11 years of operation.