A statutory inquiry into the Captain Tom Foundation has been opened due to concerns over the charity’s lack of independence from the family of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore and businesses connected to them.
The Charity Commission opened a compliance case into the charity in March 2021 but it has now escalated to a full statutory inquiry due to fresh concerns about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Moore’s daughter’s family.
It also has ongoing concerns about the trustees’ decision-making and governance at the charity, registered on 5 June 2020.
Captain Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband, Colin Ingram-Moore, both became trustees on 1 February 2021 but Hannah resigned a month later when she applied to become the charity’s chief executive.
The regulator is concerned that Club Nook Limited, a private company controlled by Hannah and Colin Ingram-Moore, may have generated “significant profit” after the charity failed to object to its trade marking of variations of the name “Captain Tom”.
In response, the foundation pledged to “work closely” with the Commission in its inquiry and announced its appointment of a new chief executive.
Scope of inquiry
The inquiry, which opened on 16 June, will initially examine whether the charity’s trustees have:
- Been responsible for mismanagement and/or misconduct in the administration of the charity and whether, as a result, the charity has suffered any financial losses, including through any unauthorised private benefit to any of the current or previous trustees.
- Adequately managed conflicts of interest, including with private companies connected to the Ingram-Moore family.
- Complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities under charity law.
The Commission said it may extend the scope of the inquiry if additional issues emerge.
But the £38m raised by Captain Tom and donated to a separate charity, NHS Charities Together, prior to the formation of the foundation, is not part of the scope of this inquiry.
Helen Stephenson, 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.”
Previous concerns allayed
The regulator had opened a compliance case after the charity’s accounts, published in February, revealed potential concerns about payments of consultancy fees and payments to related third parties.
But, based on information and evidence provided by the trustees, the Commission was satisfied that those specific payments were 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 the third-party payments were adequately identified and managed.
Ingram-Moore family responds
In a statement, Hannah and Colin Ingram-Moore welcomed the Charity Commission’s announcement, particularly in relation to its investigation into the Captain Tom Foundation’s accounts.
But the family made two claims in relation to the ongoing statutory inquiry. They said:
- Club Nook made its application for various trademarks in April 2020 prior to the formation of the Captain Tom Foundation (5 May 2020).
- Neither Hannah nor Colin Ingram-Moore were trustee directors of the Captain Tom Foundation upon its formation.
Foundation to ‘work closely’ with inquiry
Stephen Jones, chair of the Captain Tom Foundation, 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.”
New CEO: ‘An important period of transformation’
The Captain Tom Foundation requested in March last year to employ Hannah Ingram-Moore, as its chief executive.
It initially proposed to pay her a salary of £60,000 per year for three days a week, but it later proposed to pay her £100,000 to work on a full-time basis.
The Commission refused in July 2021, considering the proposed £100,000 salary neither reasonable nor justifiable.
But a month later, the regulator permitted the charity to appoint Hannah Ingram-Moore as an interim chief executive on a salary of £85,000 per year for a maximum of nine months.
It appointed founding trustee of Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Jack Gilbert, as chief executive on 1 June.
Gilbert said: “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.”
Gilbert, who has worked in the voluntary sector for over twenty years in a range of senior roles, advises the Metropolitan Police on issues of LGBT trust and confidence, and is active in his local community in Tower Hamlets.