Commission ends safeguarding probe into charity

Connaught Road, Ilford

The charity, which operates under the name British Asian Christian Association, is based in Connaught Road, Ilford according to its Facebook page - Credit: Google

A regulator has ended a probe it launched into a charity after safeguarding concerns were raised.

The Charity Commission launched a case into British Pakistani Christians Limited (BPCA) in 2020 following a safeguarding incident linked to the charity overseas.

Last year, the charity received an official warning ordering trustees to take action to address failures found by the commission.

But the regulator has said it has closed its case after "finding improvements around the charity’s safeguarding policies, training of trustees and staff and in its overseas operations".

The charity, which operates as British Asian Christian Association and is based in Ilford according to its Facebook page, aims to support Christians in Asia as well as help to homeless people in Redbridge.

Juliet Chowdhry is the chair of trustees after her husband Wilson resigned as director in 2019.

A spokesperson for the charity said: "We are glad the investigation is over and our focus can return to the desperate, suffering people that we support. 

"Working with the Charity Commission, we have introduced improved safeguarding and other measures that enhance the level of service that we provide to some of the most vulnerable Christians in south Asia."

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The commission said its probe found failures with the charity's immediate handling of the safeguarding incident as well as "a general lack of adequate safeguarding policies and procedures".

Other concerns identified by the regulator during its investigation included a lack of robust financial controls in relation to its overseas operations and confusion amongst the trustees about the aims and activities of the charity.

But Tracy Howarth, the commission's assistant director of casework, said she was pleased the regulator's "firm action" had led to "clear improvements" in the charity's safeguarding approach.

"Everyone who comes into contact with a charity has a right to feel safe," Ms Howarth added.

"Trustees must make safeguarding a governance priority, ensuring that the charity protects people from harm and responds promptly and effectively when things do go wrong. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case at BPCA."

Despite closing the case, the commission has issued formal advice to the trustees requiring them to address outstanding concerns around the charity’s handling of conflicts of interest.