Charity Commission
Printable version

Regulator freezes bank accounts of Bristol charity after opening inquiry

The Charity Commission has opened an inquiry into We Care Foundation.

The inquiry was opened on 25 January 2024 and will look into concerns around trustees’ decision-making and payments from the charity to its trustees and their related companies. 

We Care Foundation provides financial and other aid to victims of war or natural disaster overseas, as well as aid for refugees in Bristol. 

The Commission began engaging with the charity in June 2022, and a statutory inquiry was opened after concerns were identified in its governance and financial management. 

These concerns included substantial payments from the charity to its trustees and companies for which they are directors. The payments were not disclosed in the charity’s accounts and have not been adequately explained to the Commission.  

There was a period when the charity had only two trustees, who were married at the time, and their decision-making should have been limited to appointing the required number of trustees. However, the Commission is concerned that significant decisions about the charity’s finances and management were made at this time.  

As a result of these concerns, the Commission has now frozen the bank accounts of the charity to safeguard its funds. 

The inquiry will examine: 

  • whether the trustees are complying with their legal duties  
  • failures by the charity’s trustee board to engage with the Commission including whether the trustees provided true and accurate information to the regulator at all times 
  • any unauthorised connected-party payments and trustee personal benefits, including an examination of the charity’s contractual arrangements with third parties 
  • if any failings or weaknesses identified in the administration of the charity were a result of misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees. 

The regulator may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional regulatory issues emerge. 

It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing the issues examined, any action taken, and the inquiry’s outcomes. 

Notes for Editors 

  • The Charity Commission is the independent, non-ministerial government department that registers and regulates charities in England and Wales. Its ambition is to be an expert regulator that is fair, balanced, and independent so that charity can thrive. This ambition will help to create and sustain an environment where charities further build public trust and ultimately fulfil their essential role in enhancing lives and strengthening society.    
  • The Charity Commission opened the statutory inquiry into We Care Foundation under section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 (the ‘Act’) on 25 January 2024. 
  • On 12th March 2024 an order was made under section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act 2011, the effect of which is to freeze the bank accounts of We Care Foundation. 
  • The Commission has not made any conclusions and the opening of the inquiry is not a finding of wrongdoing. 
  • More information is available about Where the Charity Commission takes enforcement action - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/regulator-freezes-bank-accounts-of-bristol-charity-after-opening-inquiry

Share this article

Latest News from
Charity Commission

How Lambeth Council undertakes effective know your citizen (KYC) / ID checks to prevent fraud