In December 2016 Autism Together informed the Merseyside police of a suspected fraud.

Since then we have worked closely with the police and have also conducted our own detailed investigation to understand the full extent of the issue. We’ve also kept the Charity Commission, the Care Quality Commission and relevant local authorities up to date.

Dale Mills, age 37, a former member of our finance team, who resigned in December 2016, has now been charged with fraud and false accounting.

Mr Mills made his first court appearance today (Wednesday 30 January) at Birkenhead Magistrates Court and will be appearing at Liverpool Crown Court in due course.

Robin Bush, CEO of Autism Together, said:

“It was deeply shocking to uncover this fraud and it has taken diligent work by the police and our own internal teams to get to this point.

“We need to be very careful not to prejudice legal proceedings. However, we can confirm that we have written to the families of all our charity’s service users and residents and reassured them that day-to-day life at Autism Together will continue exactly as normal.

“We’ve provided a contact within our organisation for any families who need additional reassurance and our training team have developed support materials which will help staff explain what has happened to any service users who are concerned.

“We’ll be publishing updates when we are able to and will share a full statement at the appropriate time.”