Sunderland domestic violence charity cleared over financial allegations

Wearside Women in Need
Wearside Women in Need
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A CHARITY for victims of domestic violence has been cleared over alleged financial wrongdoing.

Auditors investigated payments from Sunderland City Council to Wearside Women In Need (WWIN), believed to be about £800,000 a year.

The charity – which made international news when bosses claimed best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey degraded women – had been accused of not filing accounts with the Charity Commission for nearly three years.

The probe was launched after a letter to the Audit Commission.

The Echo understands the letter contained allegations about the relationship between council officers and WWIN, which receives funding from its work.

The investigation concluded there was no evidence of corruption, but that the charity was “consistently late” in submitting paperwork. It said: “There is no evidence that officers of the council have acted corruptly in their dealings with WWIN. They have been treated the same as the other current contracted Housing Related Support service providers.

“Examination of the accounts available and more recent financial information shows that there are no grounds to discontinue funding WWIN for the remaining period of the grant i.e. March 31, 2014.”

WWIN has now submitted accounts to the Charities Commission.

Auditors concluded that although all providers were treated equally, a new procurement process is now being planned, which will ensure that “appropriate financial checks” are undertaken on all potential providers.

It said council funding to WWIN had reduced significantly and the authority is receiving “better value for money” under the new arrangements.

WWIN declined to comment.