Chancellor’s charity paid only employee up to 70% of its annual income

25 Oct 2022 News

Jeremy Hunt

Richard Townshend / Creative Commons

Patient Safety Watch, the charity where chancellor of the exchequer Jeremy Hunt is founder and a trustee, paid its only employee £110,000 to £120,000 last year, according to its annual accounts. 

A salary of £120,000 is 72% of the charity’s annual income for the financial year ending January 2022. 

Patient Safety Watch’s overall income for the year was £164,400 with an expenditure of £199,975. 

The charity’s only employee is chief executive Adam Smith, Hunt’s former special adviser. Smith resigned from that position in 2012 after allegations that he had too close a relationship with News Corporation. He had been in post for two years and gave evidence at the Leveson inquiry. 

The three trustees of Patient Safety Watch do not receive remuneration. The trustees are Hunt, charity worker James Titcombe and chartered accountant David Grunberg. They are also directors of the Patient Safety Watch company. 

Patient Safety Watch did not respond to requests for comment and its telephone number redirects to the charity’s accountants, Grunberg & Co. 

The Charity Commission told Civil Society News there is no upper limit for salaries. A spokesperson from the regulator said: “All complaints are assessed against our risk framework to determine whether or not there is a matter for the Commission.”

Public benefit

Patient Safety Watch's mission is to promote, preserve and protect the health of the public by carrying out research and disseminating information. 

However, the charity’s research has yet to be published due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its reports for the last two years read. Instead, it has been sharing information on public health through a newsletter which has just over 1,000 subscribers and through blogs via the website. 

Patient Safety Watch's accounts report that £106,000 of its income came from donations and legacies, with a further £58,400 from other trading activities. 

The accounts show that its only employee received remuneration of £47,232 in 2020, and that this more than doubled to £113,600 in 2021. 

Its 2022 accounts only refer to the employee’s salary band – £110,000 to £120,000 – as opposed to a specific amount. 

Independent examiner is from trustee's company

Last week the charity received total exemption of its full accounts but produced a 17-page document detailing some of its financial statements. 

Accountancy costs for the charity were £3,468 for the financial year ending 31 January 2022. 

The independent examiner’s report on the financial accounts was conducted by Gedalia Waldman, head of audit at Grunberg & Co Limited. 

Grunberg & Co’s office is registered as the charity’s official address on the Charity Commission website. 

In 2018, a company co-founded by Hunt was found to have breached company law which reduced his tax bill by £100,000 in 2012.

Grunberg & Co were Hunt’s accountants for this company at the time. The Guardian reported that it was the accountants' failure to file the documents which led to the mistake, rather than any error by Hunt.

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