ASYLUM REFUGEE & CARE 'ARC' FACING COUNCIL & POLICE PROBE '1'

NOVANEWS

Birmingham asylum group facing council and police probe

May 9 2010 by Jeanette Oldham, Sunday Mercury

AN asylum help group which has received more than £300,000 in public money is being investigated over its use of funds and concerns about the fact it does not have official charitable status.

Asylum Refugee and Care (ARC), based in Highgate, Birmingham, is being probed by West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and the Charity Commission.

The group provides temporary housing and runs projects aimed at helping refugees find homes, as well as offering employment advice.

Roger Godsiff, MP for Sparkbrook and Small Heath, said: “There are some extremely serious allegations being made about ARC and the amounts of money involved are substantial.

“I am extremely concerned about the specific nature of the allegations.

“From the paperwork I have seen there does seem to be a very strong case for immediate action being taken by the Charity Commission to investigate these complaints and to determine whether or not there is validity in them.”

Two whistleblowers once involved with ARC took their concerns about the group and a closely-linked registered charity, Urban Development Foundation (UDF), to West Midlands Police, the Charity Commission and Mr Godsiff.

The Charity Commission is investigating whether ARC should have registered as a charity.

Under the Charities Act 2006, organisations which have “wholly charitable purposes and activities, set up for the public benefit”, with an annual turnover of more than £5,000, can be registered as charities if they want to benefit from charitable status.

ARC’s own constitution states its objectives are charitable and its turnover long ago exceeded £5,000.

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