Captain Tom Foundation probe is right, leading charity campaigner says.


THE Charity Commission is right to investigate allegations surrounding the Captain Tom Foundation, a leading campaigner has said.

Cath Dovey, the co-founder of The Beacon Collaborative which encourages philanthropy, also said the commission would benefit from more resources to help regulate more than 180,000 charities.

Commenting on an ongoing enquiry by the Commission into The Captain Tom Foundation, Ms Dovey told GB News: “We want confidence in our charity sector. We have in the UK, probably the best regulated charity sector in the world and the cornerstone of that are the public benefit tests.

“You have to be able to evidence that your work is beneficial, it has to support a sufficient number of people and it has not got to be for personal benefit, so it’s absolutely spot on that the Charity Commission is investigating.

“This is an investigation. This is just fact-collecting, finding out what’s been going on so that we can be absolutely confident that the charity was running the right way and that would happen to any charity.”

Ms Dovey told Alastair Stewart she’d like to see the Commission given better tools to do their job

“The main thing I would love to see is the Charity Commission properly resourced so that they could do more of that work,” she added.

“I think we always have to remember with charities, especially the small ones, is that they’re often very locally based, and they can reach people that perhaps no other charity, no other local authority programme.

“Nobody else can reach them because, if you’re at the bottom of society you often don’t have trust in those bigger institutions.

“There is a benefit to having lots of charities that do work with people right across our communities but, absolutely, wouldn’t it be great if we could achieve some kind of efficiency within that structure?”

Asked if transparency is important with charitable giving, she added: “Absolutely. And we have to remember that the rules apply to donors in the UK as well as the charities.

“If you are a large donor and you have some sort of structure, whether it’s a family trust or a donor-advised fund, that entity is also regulated.

“You’re giving is regulated, you have to be able to pass these tests that what you were doing is in the public benefit.

“And that’s really important because we want a charity sector that is ethically sound but also democratically accountable. These things are really fundamental.”

Reports last week confirmed that an inquiry has been launched into the foundation set up in honour of Capt Sir Tom Moore amid concerns his family may have profited from using his name.

The Charity Commission said it was concerned about the Foundation’s independence from a business run by his family.

The veteran, who died last year aged 100, raised millions for the NHS but this money is not part of the inquiry.

The foundation said it would “work closely” with the inquiry.

Capt Sir Tom, who was born in Keighley in West Yorkshire, gained international fame when he carried out the fundraising walk at his home in Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, when Covid restrictions were first introduced in 2020.

The £33m raised (£38.9m including gift aid) was managed and distributed by NHS Charities Together before the JustGiving account was closed down.

After he became a well-known figure, his family set up The Captain Tom Foundation, which aims to support and “empower” older people through fundraising and awareness campaigns.

Shortly before the formation of the foundation his daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore and her husband Colin, set up a private company called Club Nook Ltd.

Helen Stephenson, chief executive of the Charity Commission, said the watchdog’s “concerns have mounted” over the charity.

“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,” she said.

The commission became concerned about arrangements between the charity and Club Nook Ltd, as well as the trustees’ decision-making and how the foundation was governed.

The issues revolve around a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues”, including the trademarking of variations of the name “Captain Tom” by the company controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, without objection from the charity.

This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, the commission added.

Earlier this year, the Commission reviewed 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 it was also satisfied that the payments were “adequately identified and managed”.

Stephen Jones, chairman of the board of trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation, said: “We will of course work closely with the commission in its inquiry.”

He said the commission was aware of where the image and intellectual property rights were held when the charity was set up.

Jack Gilbert, who became chief executive of the foundation at the beginning of the month, said he would “ensure that in all respects, including governance and finance, the foundation conforms to best practice”.

In March 2022, the publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation showed it had incurred £240,000 in costs and given £160,000 to good causes.