11 May 2011
The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has today published a report on its investigation into Wildlife Aid (registered charity no.297610).
The charity runs a wildlife hospital, which also appears on the TV programme Wildlife SOS. The charity operates from premises owned by its founding trustee, who also uses the premises to run the production company Wildlife Productions Limited, which makes Wildlife SOS.
The investigation into Wildlife Aid was opened after allegations were made to the Commission in March 2010. These related to the charity’s management and administration and the extent to which commitments given by the trustees, following the Charity Commission inquiry in 2004, had been met.
Having assessed the complaint, the Commission investigated a number of regulatory concerns, including whether the previous inquiry commitments had been met, the management of the charity’s relationship with the TV programme and production company, the employment of a family member of the founding trustee and the charity’s 2009 public appeal for a donation of land.
Based on the information examined during the investigation, the Commission found no evidence to indicate mismanagement or maladministration in the charity. The Commission’s full findings are set out in the report published today.
The report also highlights broader issues that may be relevant to other charities, particularly those that have close relationships with their founders and trustees, and those who are closely related to them, and where there may be connected business relationships. While generous philanthropy and support for charity is both welcomed and invaluable for the charity sector, any potential conflicts of interest must be properly managed to ensure transparency and prevent decisions of the trustees being called into question. This is crucial to ensuring public trust and confidence in the charity and to maintaining its independence.
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Notes to Editors
1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. See www.charitycommission.gov.uk for further information or call our contact centre on 0845 300 0218.
2. Our mission is: to ensure charities’ legal compliance, enhance charities’ accountability, encourage charities’ effectiveness and impact and to promote the public interest in charity.
3. More information about the Charity Commission’s Compliance Division can be found in Charities Back on Track, a report on the themes and wider issues arising from the Commission’s compliance work. This can be found on the Commission’s website.
4. There are over 180,000 registered charities, some of which have similar names or working names. To avoid confusion, each registered charity can be identified by its individual registration number, which can be checked on the Register of Charities.
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