We are greatly amused to see the Public Administration Select Committee taking its cue from Scrapbook when it came to quizing David Cameron’s “big society” ambassador, Shaun Bailey. In April we highlighted his charity’s latest set of characteristically shoddy accounts, which reveal a tripling in publicity spending to more than £90,000 in the period which, coincidentally, Shaun Bailey was running as an A-list Conservative candidate.
Despite appeals from Conservative members of the committee, Bailey was forced to answer a series of embarrassing questions and admit that “things were accounted for badly”. He then appeared to deny Charity Commission’s interest in the £16,000 which, erm, went missing from the coffers, stating categorically:
“We were never under investigation by the Charity Commission.”
There was a detailed investigation by the regulators — but top brass were loathe to deploy their full powers under the Charities Act 1993 against someone who may have become an MP. Scrapbook has seen copies of internal Charity Commission correspondence referencing the “considerable sensitivities” stemming from Bailey’s position as a “prominent Conservative politician” and adviser to David Cameron.
Provided statutory powers are not invoked, compliance case officers poring over accounts and forcing charity trustees to re-submit them is referred to, in Commission parlance as “assessing the issues raised in line with normal procedure”.
Sounds like an investigation to us!