The Prince Andrew Charitable Trust (PACT) will close by the end of this year after concerns were raised by the Charity Commission about unauthorised trustee benefit.
PACT was three months late in filing its annual accounts for the year to March 2019. These set out its plans to wind up and details of its engagement with the regulator.
The accounts say: “In November 2019, the trustees became aware of the potential reputational risk by association following negative media coverage related to HRH The Duke of York. A serious incident report expressing these concerns was submitted to the Charity Commission.
“Following correspondence with the Charity Commission and the trustees’ expert advisers, at the time of publication of this trustees’ report, the trustees are finalising a combined plan for the Trust and its subsidiaries.”
Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties, including most of his charity work, last year following increased scrutiny over his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
Amanda Thirsk, a former aide to Prince Andrew, resigned as a trustee on 13 January 2020.
The accounts note that the Commission had raised concerns about her role as a director of one of the charity’s subsidiaries and that the Duke of York had repaid over £355,000 to the charity.
The report states: “After the year end, and in correspondence initiated by the trustees, the Charity Commission raised a concern about remuneration paid to one of the trustees (who has since resigned) in their role as a director of the subsidiaries, which the Commission considered to be an unauthorised trustee benefit.
“Having considered the matter in light of the Commission’s concern, the trustees concluded that the best interests of the Trust would be served by securing full reimbursement of all the costs to date, which was agreed to and paid by the Duke of York's Household. The total amount repaid was £355,297.”
PACT reported an income of £1.4m and expenditure of just under that amount. It employed 19 people.
Most of its projects are coming to an end but a new charity will be set up to run the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award CIC (iDEA).
iDEA, which was founded as a community interest company in 2015, aims to help people of all ages to develop digital skills via a platform of badges, each based on a specific digital, enterprise or entrepreneurial skill.
The report states: “It is proposed that a new, independent charity will be established in 2020, which would take over the activities and operations of iDEA, so that its valuable work can continue.”