Charity Commission operational case report: The Tony Blair Faith Foundation
The Charity Commission has recently published its operational case report into the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.
The Commission got involved with the Foundation back in August 2014 after a newspaper article criticised the operation of the Foundation, suggesting that the Foundation's patron, Tony Blair, was too closely involved. This lead to the Commission looking into whether or not the Trustees of the Foundation were able act independently of Tony Blair's influence when making decisions.
The Commission found that the Trustees were "aware of and fulfilling their duty to uphold the charity's independence from the patron". The Foundation had agreed a memorandum with Tony Blair which confirmed "the regulations governing the relationship between them". In addition, Tony Blair did not regularly exercise his right to attend Trustee meetings.
The allegations and investigation illustrates the importance of having a written agreement in place with any Patron that a charity might choose to appoint, either as a letter of appointment or as a more formal document. Where a Patron is closely involved with a charity, the Trustees should ensure that the public perception of independence is maintained.
The full report of the Charity Commission can be found here.