Advice & Regulation
23 May 2011
Sports 4 All - Upheld
Complaint Summary Sports 4 All held an event at Colchester High School in January 2010. As stated in Sports 4 All’s marketing material, the company agreed to give the school 60% of the proceeds raised during the event. Based on the event that took place, this sum was calculated to be £882.14. In spite of the many attempts made by both Mr Dowson and the Fundraising Standards Board’s Compliance Manager to obtain the money, the school has not yet received a valid cheque. The school was planning to purchase gymnastic ropes for its gym with the money from the event. However, they have now had to use their own money to fund this which has led to several complaints from parents.
Sports 4 All states that it is committed to inspiring “the next generation of children to become actively involved in sport.” They aim to achieve this by visiting schools across the UK and holding events hosted by “celebrity athletes.”
1.The complainant feels that Sports 4 All did not deliver the high quality event it promised during the initial consultations Colchester High School had with the company in 2009.
2.Sports 4 All promises that it will make an initial visit to the school it is working with in order to enthuse pupils about their events programme. Mr Demetrios Bradshaw (the company’s Director) cancelled his first scheduled appearance at Colchester High School’s assembly at short notice. He then failed to make it to the rescheduled appointment which meant that Mr Dowson had to promote the event to pupils himself.
3.Mr Bradshaw was late on the day of the actual event held in January 2010. Instead of the “professional or Olympic” athlete Sports 4 All promised, Mr Bradshaw was accompanied by the amateur boxer, Kirk Garvey. Mr Dowson feels that he was misled with regards to the quality of athlete Sports 4 All could provide.
4.After the event, Mr Dowson sent a cheque to the value of circa £1600. Colchester High School was due to receive £882.14 of that money as well as a hamper of Encyclopaedia Britannica books. To this date they have not received either a valid cheque or the books Sports 4 All had promised.
5.Mr Bradshaw has claimed that the first cheque he sent to the school must have been mislaid in the post. The second cheque (which was received by Colchester High School) was both incorrectly dated and incorrectly made out to Colchester Prep School. The third cheque has bounced.
6.Colchester High School was planning to use £882.14 to purchase new gymnastic ropes for its gym. Instead, the school has had to subsidise the purchase of the ropes which has led to parents holding Mr Dowson personally responsible.
Sports 4 All’s Response
Sports 4 All has consistently failed to honour the promises it has made to Mr Dowson.
In all correspondence, Mr Bradshaw has apologised profusely for the inconvenience his actions have caused and has repeatedly stated that he would remedy this as soon as possible. Despite these repeated promises, payment is still outstanding.
Stage TWO Assessment
The FRSB’s Compliance Manager, Pete Meacham, received an email from Mr Dowson on the 10th of September 2010 asking for the Fundraising Standard’s Board intervention as he felt that Sports 4 All had not dealt with his complaint.
Considering the fact that he had already chased Sports 4 All for the money on several separate occasions without resolution, it was decided that Mr Dowson’s complaint should be treated at Stage 2 of the Fundraising Standards Board complaints process.
Since September 2010, several attempts have been made by the Fundraising Standards Board to obtain a valid cheque from Sports 4 All without success. As such, it is the Fundraising Standards Board’s view that the company is in breach of the Fundraising Promise “We Are Honest and Open” because it has failed to honour the promises it made during Stage 1 and Stage 2.
Resolution (s) Attempted
1. Between September and December 2010, the FRSB made several attempts to encourage Mr Bradshaw to send the money it owed to Colchester High School.
During this period, Pete Meacham kept in regular phone contact with Mr Dowson and made follow up calls to Mr Bradshaw. Despite many assurances to the contrary, Sports 4 All failed to send Mr Dowson a cheque for £882.14. When a cheque did arrive in the post at the beginning of December, it was incorrectly dated and made out to Colchester Prep School. As a consequence, Mr Dowson could not bank it.
The FRSB tried to resolve this matter by talking to Mr Bradshaw directly and he made promises that a cheque would be sent out to the school as a matter of urgency.
2. During mid January (on the back of receiving an email from Mr Dowson), Pete Meacham sent an email to Mr Bradshaw asking for an update. No response was provided.
3. In January, Pete Meacham sent an additional email to Mr Bradshaw. He replied on the 24th of January confirming that a cheque would be sent to the school soon.
4. In February, Pete Meacham received a phone call from Mr Dowson confirming that the school had received a cheque two weeks earlier but it had bounced. Mr Dowson sent a subsequent email to the FRSB on the 18th February which outlined his frustrations and confirmed that the cheque had again bounced.
5. On the 28th of February he confirmed that he would like his complaint to be considered at Stage 3 of the complaints process.
6. In light of the numerous opportunities the FRSB has given to Sports 4 All to resolve Mr Dowson’s complaint, it was felt that a Stage 3 referral to the board was appropriate.
The Board adjudicated on the basis of the Fundraising Promises:
1. We are Honest and Open.
2. We Are Committed to High Standards
The board unanimously agreed that by not fulfilling its contractual obligations to Colchester High School, Sports 4 All was in breach of the following aspects of the Fundraising Promise “We Are Honest and Open”:
1. We tell the truth and do not exaggerate: It was agreed by the board that Sports 4 All had exaggerated the quality of the event that it could deliver to Colchester High School.
2. We do what we say we are going to do: The board noted that despite making several assurances to the contrary, Mr Bradshaw had failed to send Colchester High School 60% of the funds raised at the event held on its premises in January 2010 as had been promised. The board felt that this was dishonest.
In addition, the board unanimously agreed that Sports 4 All had also breached the Fundraising Promise, “We Are Committed to High Standards” as it had not conducted its business affairs in a manner that was in keeping with the high standards the FRSB expects of all its members.
1. It was noted that in spite of the fact that Sports 4 All’s membership had lapsed, it had not notified the FRSB that it no longer wished to be a member and was therefore still part of the scheme. As such, and taking into account the breaches it had committed, the board recommended that Sports 4 All be expelled from membership with immediate effect.
2. The board recommended that the Fundraising Standards Board inform Surrey Trading Standards of the adjudication decision as it may wish to investigate Sports 4 All should it deem the case to be of interest from a Trading Standards perspective.
3. The board recommended that the FRSB send an email to the Department for Education notifying them of the adjudication so that they could make schools across the UK aware of Sports 4 All should it get in touch in order to promote its events programme.
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