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The watchdog opened a case into the charity in March 2021, a month after Sir Tom died, and began reviewing the set-up of the organisation.
This has now escalated to an inquiry after the commission became concerned about arrangements between the charity and a company linked to Sir Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore, and her husband Colin, as well as the trustees’ decision-making and how the charity is governed.
Sir Tom became a well-known figure after raising £38 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday at the height of the first national Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020.
The commission said the money raised for the NHS, which was donated to NHS Charities Together, is not part of the scope of its inquiry.
The Captain Tom Foundation was registered on June 5 2020 following his fundraising efforts.
In March 2022, the publication of the first annual accounts of the foundation showed the charity incurred £240,000 in costs and gave £160,000 to good causes.
Watch: How did Captain Tom's fundraising help the NHS?
The commission said it is concerned that a “failure to consider intellectual property and trademark issues” when the charity was set up gave a private company, called Club Nook Limited, the opportunity to trademark variations of the name “Captain Tom” without objection from the charity.
This could have generated “significant profit” for the company, which is controlled by Ms Ingram-Moore and Mr Ingram-Moore, the commission added.
The inquiry, which was launched on June 16, is analysing if the trustees of The Captain Tom Foundation have been responsible for mismanagement or misconduct in the administration of the charity leading to any losses, adequately managed conflicts of interest and complied with their duties and responsibilities under charity law.
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.”
The commission previously raised concerns about the 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 that 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 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.”
Jack Gilbert, who took on the role of chief executive on June 1, added: “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.”
A statement from the Ingram-Moore family said: “The Ingram-Moore family has welcomed the press release issued today by the Charity Commission, which has found no issues in the accounts of the Captain Tom Foundation, published in February 2022.
“On behalf of our family, there are two points we would like to make. Club Nook Ltd made its application for various trademarks in April 2020 prior to the formation of the Captain Tom Foundation (May 5 2020).
“Neither Hannah nor Colin Ingram-Moore were trustee directors of the Captain Tom Foundation upon its formation.”