The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has opened a statutory inquiry into Console Suicide Prevention Ltd registered charity number 1153096. The inquiry was opened on 4 July.
The charity has objects for the provision of counselling and support for those who are at risk of suicide or who are bereaved by suicide.
The regulator is investigating the charity after it was made aware of media coverage about a separate charity Console Suicide Bereavement Counselling Ltd which is registered in the Republic of Ireland. The nature of the concerns reported include (but is not limited to) allegations of falsifying of accounts to obtain funding, significant private benefit, conflicts of interest, and financial mismanagement (see endnote 1).
Due to the links between the Irish charity, the UK charity and the High Court action that has taken place in Ireland, the commission considers that the impact of the actions taking in place in Ireland affect public trust and confidence in the UK charity. The recent events and actions also indicate that the assets of the UK charity may be at serious and significant risk of harm and that this requires further examination and action by the commission.
The inquiry will examine:
- the relationship between the UK and Irish charities and whether the UK charity is furthering its objects for the public benefit
- the financial management of the UK charity, in particular how it applies it funds in furtherance of its objects and whether there has been any unauthorised trustee benefit
- whether or not the trustees have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law in the administration, governance and management of the UK charity and conflicts of interest have been properly managed
- whether there has been any misconduct and/or mismanagement by the trustees and consider whether remedial regulatory action is necessary
The commission has taken immediate action to freeze the charity’s bank accounts in order to protect the charity’s funds and other property (see endnote 2).
The commission stresses that opening an inquiry is not in itself a finding of wrongdoing. The purpose of an inquiry is to examine issues in detail and investigate and establish the facts so that the regulator can ascertain whether there has been misconduct and mismanagement; establish the extent of the risk to the charity’s property, beneficiaries or work; decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the serious concerns, if necessary using its investigative, protective and remedial powers to do so.
It is the commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries are available on GOV.UK.
The charity’s details can be viewed on the commission’s online charity search tool.
Notes to editors
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
- Search for charities on our online register.
- Section 46 of the Charities Act 2011 gives the commission the power to institute inquiries. The opening of an inquiry gives the commission access to a range of investigative, protective and remedial legal powers.
- The commission’s decision to announce the opening of a statutory inquiry is based on whether it is in the public interest to do so and with consideration of our objective to increase public trust and confidence in charities.
- Console Suicide Bereavement Counselling Ltd (20050801) is registered in the Republic of Ireland and is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Charity Commission for England and Wales.
- The commission made an order on the 4 July 2016 to protect the UK Charity and its property under section 76(3)(d) of the Charities Act. The bank may not part with any money or securities which it holds on behalf of the UK Charity without the prior written approval of the commission.