Captain Tom Foundation faces inquiry over concerns about arrangements with company linked to veteran's daughter
The watchdog opened an investigation into the charity a month after Sir Tom died
The Charity Commission has launched an inquiry into The Captain Tom Foundation after identifying concerns regarding the charity's management and independence from the late veteran's family.
A case was opened by the watchdog into the charity in March 2021, one month after the death of Sir Tom.
The case has since escalated into an inquiry, following concerns about the arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom's daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin, alongside the trustees' decision-making and how the charity is governed.
Sir Tom rose to fame in the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020, after raising £38million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.
The Commission noted how the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.
The Captain Tom Foundation was established on June 5, 2020, in the wake of his fundraising efforts.
In March 2022, the publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation highlighted how the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.
The Commission raised mounting concerns saying that a "failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was established gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.
This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.
The inquiry which launched on the 16 June, is set to uncover if the trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation have been responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses, adequately managed conflicts of interest and complied with their duties and responsibilities under charity law.
Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, said: "The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired the nation with his courage, tenacity and concern for others. It is vital that public trust in charity is protected, and that people continue to feel confident in supporting good causes.
“We do not take any decision to open an inquiry lightly but in this case our concerns have mounted. We consider it in the public interest to examine them through a formal investigation, which gives us access to the full range of our protective and enforcement powers.”
The Charity Commission recently shared concerns about the payment of consultancy fees to third parties but said it was later "satisfied" that these specific payments were a reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred by the companies in the formation of the charity.
It added how it remained satisfied that the payments were "adequately identified and managed".
Chairman of the board of Trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation, Stephen Jones, said: “We will of course work closely with the commission in its inquiry relating to intellectual property management.
“I note that the trustees confirmed with the commission during the process of registration that the ‘image rights and intellectual property rights of the name were held within a private family trust’, and the commission were aware that this was always intended to be the case.
“We welcome that the Charity Commission today reports that it is ‘satisfied’ in relation to questions that had been raised about the foundation’s annual report which was published in February, and has concluded that payments were reasonable and that conflicts of interest were identified and managed.”
Jack Gilbert, who embarked on the role of Chief Executive on June 1, added: “My appointment marks the start of an important period of transformation for the Captain Tom Foundation.
“With a revitalised and more focused mission, in coming months we will be announcing an array of charitable activities at both grassroots and national levels that change the way we think, feel and act towards age and ageing, combat ageism, and build meaningful connections between communities and generations.
“Working with the board, I am using the NCVO-backed Trusted Charities standards to ensure that in all respects, including governance and finance, the foundation conforms to best practice. These will be externally validated as part of the process.”