The regulator has moved swiftly to rule out action against a charity accused of carrying out an “obscene” fundraising campaign.
The Charity Commission received “several complaints” when UP – The Adult Cerebral Palsy Movement posted cards containing 42p to the 822 members of the House of Lords, at a total cost of £345.24.
UP sent the cards to mark the first anniversary of a co-sponsored report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy.
It came alongside a health economics study commissioned by UP, which revealed that proper health care would cost £20m a year or 42p a day for each adult with cerebral palsy.
Within a few days, the charity received a note from a member of the Lords, whose signature could not be identified, saying: “Stop wasting even small change if you want to do good. I am returning your OBSCENE CARD.”
As promised, the card and the 42p were also returned.
Shortly afterwards, UP was contacted by the Charity Commission, which had received “several complaints” from unidentified peers.
When contacted today by Third Sector, the commission moved quickly to dispel fears that it would take action.
A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a concern was raised with us about the charity’s campaign.
“We take all concerns raised with us seriously, and consider each carefully. In this case, we spoke to the charity and provided general advice and guidance. We will not be taking regulatory action.”
Emma Livingstone, chief executive and co-founder of UP, said: “I was extremely upset to receive this letter from the unnamed member of the House of Lords and the letter from the Charity Commission.
“We are the only charity supporting the UK’s population of 130,000 adults with Cerebral Palsy and feel it is absolutely right to have spent £336 in coins to dramatise the many challenges they face every day.”
Livingstone added: “I can only assume that the same unnamed, unelected individual has chosen to make the equally upsetting complaint to the Charity Commission.
“Strangely, they also seem to have missed our encouragement under the coins in the card to ‘donate this money to a charity of your choice’.”