Christ Church College: Criminal Investigation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 26th February 2020.

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Photo of John Howell John Howell Conservative, Henley

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will direct the Charity Commission to undertake an investigation into the expenditure of over £2m of charitable funds on legal expenses by the Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford in relation to that College's attempt to dismiss the Dean of that College.

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

The Charity Commission is the independent regulator and registrar for charities in England and Wales. As an independent non-Ministerial Department, Ministers cannot direct or control the Charity Commission. It is answerable to the courts for its legal decisions.

Disputes and disagreements in charities can be particularly damaging to the public’s confidence in charities. The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case into Christ Church college in January last year and has continued to engage with the charity over a number of issues connected to the dispute at the College. These have included the expenditure of charitable funds on legal expenses connected to the dispute. The Commission has also instructed the trustees to commission an independent governance review. The Commission continues to closely engage with the charity and will do so until the matter is resolved.

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