Captain Tom Foundation faces statutory inquiry into family business links

The Charity Commission says it has identified concerns including ‘the charity’s independence from the family of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and businesses connected to them’

Captain Sir Tom Moore (Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Captain Sir Tom Moore (Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into the Captain Tom Foundation because of questions over the arrangements between the charity and businesses controlled by members of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s family.

The regulator said its “concerns have mounted” regarding the charity since opening a compliance case in March.

The commission said it has identified concerns including “the charity’s independence from the family of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and businesses connected to them”.

The inquiry will specifically look at whether a private firm controlled by Moore’s daughter and son-in-law benefitted financially when the charity did not object to the company trademarking variations of the name Captain Tom.

The failure to object “may have generated significant profit for the company”, the commission said in a statement.

The regulator also said it had blocked the charity’s bid to appoint Moore’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, as chief executive of his foundation on a full-time salary of £100,000, arguing that the proposed salary was “neither reasonable nor justifiable”.

Ingram-Moore was eventually appointed as interim chief executive and paid £85,000 a year on a rolling contract until the charity recruited a new boss.

In April, Third Sector revealed that Ingram-Moore had been removed as a speaker at the Volunteer Expo Live event, after organisers decided her appearance would “not be appropriate” with the Charity Commission’s initial inquiries going on.

The commission’s compliance case had previously identified potential concerns about consultancy payments to companies controlled by Moore’s daughter and son-in-law, but the regulator said it was “satisfied that these specific payments are reasonable reimbursement for expenses incurred by the companies in the formation of the charity.

“It is also satisfied that any conflicts of interest in relation to these third-party payments were adequately identified and managed”.

A statutory inquiry allows the commission to use its full legal powers.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said: “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.”

Stephen Jones, chair of trustees at the Captain Tom Foundation, said the regulator was aware of the arrangements for handling intellectual rights when the charity was founded.

He 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.”

The charity announced that its new chief executive was Jack Gilbert, who was a a founding trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Gilbert said he would ensure that all the foundation’s work “conforms to best practice”.

He said: “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”.

In a separate statement sent on behalf of Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband, the family said that its firm, Club Nook, applied for "various trademarks in April 2020, a month before the Captain Tom Foundation was established.

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