• Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

Queens charity paid 98% of “donations” in staff wages

Byscarcity news

Feb 21, 2022

It seems there is a lack of trust in the Commonwealth.

This is a Royal charity that has partnered with Prince Harry’s life coaching firm and paid their staff 98 per cent of the money it raised in a year. The Daily mail reported that The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT) brought in £796,106 from donors but paid out £787,314 in staff costs to its ten employees in the 12 months to March 2021.

Over half of the cash went to its five most senior executives who earned £420,000 between them, Charity Commission accounts show. Chris Kelly, the chief executive, earns at least £140,000 – a similar salary to the boss of the RSPCA, despite the animal charity raising some £130million in donations and employing nearly 2,000 staff.

The figures spent on salaries raises serious questions over how much emphasis the organisation, with the Queen as patron, puts on charitable endeavours. The QCT has already raised eyebrows for promoting online coaching company BetterUp, which employs Prince Harry as its chief impact officer. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been president and vice president of QCT before they stepped down from royal duties a year ago. 

Now it has entered a partnership with BetterUp, the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust runs testimonials on its website describing Prince Harry’s business as ‘truly phenomenal’. Branding experts have said the endorsement from a charity with Her Majesty at its head is valuable for the online coaching firm now worth £3.5billion and hailed as ‘the largest mental health and coaching company in the world’. 
BetterUp said in a blogpost on its website last year that it was working with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, but neither party has not revealed the exact terms of the deal, how long it will last and exactly how many people the QCT works with will benefit.

The California-based company has said the tie-up is part of its ‘Pledge 1%’ movement, where it donates 1% of all its coaching sessions to communities and charities, according to The Observer. 

David Haigh, chief executive of London consultancy Brand Finance, said the QCT should have carried out a careful due diligence process to ensure the charitable partnership was appropriate. He said: ‘Any company which is supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is going to gain credibility, and this will be of economic value.’


The QCT was set up to provide funding, tools and support for young Commonwealth leaders to help them transform their communities across agriculture, education, employability and more. 
The Charity Commission is probing allegations that FFR spent £1.6million on a fundraising gala in Cannes, France, yet gave only £5,000 to good causes over the same period. The Queen launched the QCT in 2018. 

The next year it was given a one-off £2.7million donation from the Queen’s Trust, which then closed. But the latest figures show it is eating into that donation to keep afloat, with total expenditures last year at £1.5million despite the small amounts raised.

A QCT spokesman said: ‘The impact of C19 has been felt across the Charitable Sector – and impacted fundraising for many – QCT included.

‘On April 1, 2021 QCT restructured reducing the size and costs of its senior team. The spend on the Senior Management Team will be substantially lower in the current financial year, reflecting this restructure.

‘The Queen’s Trust funds were always intended to be utilised in the early years of QCT as QCT developed its own fundraising. This follows controversial revelations about another charity recently.

Tom Moore

This follows on from recent controversy surrounding the late Tom Moore charity.

The charity set up in honour of Captain Sir Tom Moore is being investigated by the Charity Commission over its accounts, according to reports.


The Second World War veteran whose charity walks inspired the nation at the start of the coronavirus pandemic died last year, aged 100.

The national hero raised £38.9 million for the NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. Before his death, he and his family set up the Captain Tom Foundation to support causes close to his heart.

The charity, set up in June 2020 published its first audited accounts earlier this week. The public documentation covers the period of May 5, 2020 and May 31, 2021. Accounts show nearly £1.1million in income although concerns have been raised over “related party transactions”.

According to the publicly available accounts, reimbursement costs of £16,097 were made to Club Nook Limited, a company under the control of Captain Tom’s daughter, Hannah Ingram-Moore. These costs were for accommodation, transport and security while Capt Sir Tom was “travelling around the UK to promote the charitable company”.

The charity also paid out grants to four charities worth £40,000 each but spent £209,433 on support costs including £162,336 on “management”.

The Charity Commission said: “We have been in ongoing contact with the trustees of the Captain Tom Foundation on its set-up and governance arrangements and as part of this work will now assess the charity’s recently submitted accounts.”

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