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Archived: The curious case of Whitley College

Care:  At least some of the information about this charity is no longer current.  Use the ‘Search charity names’ box to see if there is a later review.  If the latest review has a message like this, you are welcome to make your case for an updated review via email to ted@businessbythebook.com.au.

One of my review series is ‘members of Missions Interlink’. Back in early January I noticed that a ‘Whitley College’ had become an Associate member:

The link in that list led to this website:

Due to the charitable purposes of such an organization, one would therefore expect to find it on the ACNC Register. But a search drew a blank:

So, given that it would be exceptional if such an organization didn’t have an ABN, I went to ABN Lookup. Here it told me that ‘Whitley College’ was indeed a charity – although with a longer name. (That should make no difference to the ACNC Register search – it will bring up any charities with ‘Whitley College’ in the name.)

The ACNC Register can be searched using either a name or an ABN. So, using the name…I again drew a blank.

The Advice Team at the ACNC were their usual responsive self, and within a day or so I had the answer to the mystery:

Once a withholding request is submitted by a charity, the entire record is withheld in case the charity has requested a lower than appropriate level of withholding. We do this blanket hold (temporarily remove public access) for the safety of the charity, its responsible persons, and/or its beneficiaries.

That’s a drastic solution ACNC.  Thoughtful, but drastic.

You can read about withholding information here.

Given that ‘There are limited circumstances when we may withhold a charity’s information from the Register.’, and that you’ll get a refusal if ‘the public interest in displaying the information outweighs the likely adverse effect of’ the circumstance’ that the charity thinks warrants the withholding, one wonders what reason a Baptist bible college has to withhold any of its information.

The bad news for the public – but good for any charities wanting to use the withholding provision for the wrong reasons – is that, nearly a month later, the record is still not available.

PS ‘Whitley College’ is not a name that the Baptist College is registered to use: