Future of Kean’s Children’s Fund at risk from regulator

Charlie Kean says he will speak to his accountant as a matter of urgency.

A leading Dundee charity is at risk of losing its charitable status for being more than a year late in submitting annual returns and accounts to the regulator.

Dundee citizen of the year Charlie Kean said he was mystified as to how the situation with the Kean’s Children’s Fund had arisen.

He said he would speak to his accountant as a matter of urgency on Monday, and hoped to resolve any problem that threatened the future of his long-running project to help children who suffer from cancer.

“As far as I am concerned it is business as usual with the charity,” he said. “We have had a very busy Christmas and have plans in place for things in 2013. I will not be stopping my charity work.

“I have no idea how this happened with the returns being late, but I will be finding out.”

Kean’s Children’s Fund has official charitable status but the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has now signalled a potential problem with its continued existence.

The charity’s returns for the year ending March 31 2011 should have been submitted by the end of December that year but were not.

In January 2012, Kean’s Children’s Fund was referred to OSCR’s compliance team with a view to “re-engaging in the submissions process”.

OSCR’s rules state that failure to submit returns and accounts within 12 months of that deadline may see the regulator take steps to remove the charity from the register.

Those 12 months for Kean’s Children’s Fund expired on December 31 2012 without any returns or accounts being submitted.

Failure to submit such information on time is not sufficient reason for OSCR to remove a charity from its register but is regarded as a marker that the charity may not be meeting the charity test.

A spokesman for OSCR said: “Charities that fail to provide OSCR with the required documents within 12 months of the deadline for submission may be considered for removal from the Scottish Charity Register.”

These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis depending on the particular circumstances of a charity, he added, and OSCR would not discuss individual cases.

Charlie Kean (49) began organising treats for children suffering from cancer nearly 20 years ago.

His charitable work, which he has developed alongside running a roofing business, earned him the accolade of Dundee’s citizen of the year for 2012.

After advice, he incorporated his activities into a formal charity which was officially registered with OSCR.

Over the last year, the charity has continued to organise events to boost the morale of local invalid children and their families.

It stages parties and social gatherings and last year bought a minibus to take youngsters on special outings. At Christmas, it arranged for more than 2,000 children to enjoy a show at Dundee Ice Arena.

Mr Kean said: “In 2013 I am looking to take parties of children to see groups like One Direction and Girls Aloud. There are other things in the offing, but I need to get this problem with the regulator sorted out.

“The charity is active and it has money I think about £6,000 or £7,000 in the bank.”