Daily Mirror blurs the separation between editorial and advertising

  1. On 22 May 2017, the Daily Mirror newspaper published a health-related ad featuring Dr Miriam Stoppard opposite her column. The ad risks undermining both her and the newspaper’s editorial integrity.
  2. That day Dr Stoppard’s column was on p.30 (Daily Mirror 22 May 2017 p.30), and the ad on the other page of the double spread, p.31 (Daily Mirror 22 May 2017 p.31).
  3. There’s a clear conflict of interest between her role as Daily Mirror health columnist and her endorsement in ads of health-related products and services.
  4. Dr Stoppard is also continuously promoting the advertiser on Twitter (screen shot in Figure 1), without disclosing she’s appearing in its press ads and on its website (screen shot in Figure 2), and thus presumably is paid by the company. Her Twitter biography proclaims “Daily Mirror health expert” (screen shot in Figure 3).

    Figure 1. Dr Miriam Stoppard on Twitter promoting a company, without disclosing she fronts its press ads at 23 May 2017

    Figure 2. Dr Miriam Stoppard on company website at 23 May 2017

    Figure 3. Dr Miriam Stoppard’s Twitter biography at 23 May 2017

  5. What’s worse, the Daily Mirror published Dr Stoppard’s ad – and alongside her column. As I say, the ad risks undermining both her and the newspaper’s editorial integrity.
  6. Dr Stoppard joins the club of media doctors who undermine their credibility by appearing in health-related ads – doctors such as Dr Hilary Jones (see 3 April 2017 & 10 April 2017 posts) and Dr Chris Steele (see 18 April 2017 post).
  7. Neither Lloyd Embley, Daily Mirror editor-in-chief, nor Dr Stoppard responded to my complaint, which I sent twice to both.

The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust: an opaque, unresponsive charity with excessive – and increasing – management costs

  1. I first came across The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust (PAMT; registered charity number: 1159831) when I read an article by chair of trustees, Sir Hugh Orde, in the Daily Telegraph newspaper on 17 May 2017. The charity is raising funds to create a new UK Police Memorial (UKPM) at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. A laudable aim, but there are problems: PAMT is an opaque, unresponsive charity with excessive – and increasing – management costs.
  2. Sir Hugh wants to raise “at least £4m” to design, build and maintain the new UKPM: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/16/join-campaign-honour-memories-police-officers-have-died-line/. Last month’s Telegraph article marked launch of a new phase of fundraising, so it’s unfortunate that the public contact for the charity has been obstructive and unresponsive from the outset. I initially emailed Joan Cagney on 18 May 2017 because I wanted to read the latest trustees’ annual report (TAR) and accounts. On 11 May 2017, the Charity Commission received the charity accounts made up to 31 December 2016, according to its online public register of charities. Yet at 18 May 2017 the accounts weren’t – and at date of publication still aren’t – actually available via the register. On 23 May 2017, Ms Cagney said in her reply (email): “I am happy to send our annual accounts, however can you tell me why you need them please?” Strange, I thought, why not just send them anyway? Nevertheless I told her in an email the next day I was interested in PAMT after Sir Hugh’s article. Yet two weeks since first requesting the latest accounts, that is at 1 June 2017, I still hadn’t received them.
  3. Meanwhile, I noticed that the charity recently filed the accounts at Companies House – on 19 May 2017 (registered company number: 08961292). Thus I obtained them there, despite the ongoing unavailability on the online public register of charities. At date of publication I still haven’t received the accounts from Ms Cagney despite a third email, on 1 June 2017. There I also said it was revealing, too, that she hadn’t told me about the recent submission at Companies House, either. No response.
  4. It appears that PAMT wants to avoid scrutiny. Examining both sets of accounts to date, I can understand why.
  5. The management of the charity is opaque. Both TARs contain the sentence: “The trustees are supported in day-to-day operational matters and project management by a small management team.” This is too vague, and says nothing about the role of Ms Cagney’s company, Morgen Thomas Ltd (registered company number: 07603228). The company is hidden.
  6. Non-disclosure of the company has a misleading consequence: PAMT has no employees, according to the Charity Commission public register of charities (screen shot in Figure 1).

    Figure 1. The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust on the Charity Commission public register of charities at 27 May 2017: no employees

  7. At date of publication Morgen Thomas Ltd isn’t mentioned on the PAMT website, either. I refer to both “The Trust” and contact pages.
  8. It’s a different story on the Morgen Thomas Ltd website, though, where the company trumpets its role at client PAMT (screen shot in Figure 2).

    Figure 2. “Client” The Police Arboretum Memorial Trust on the Morgen Thomas Ltd website at 19 May 2017

  9. Both accounts report expenditure on “management,” which again is too vague. What exactly does this mean?
  10. Fundraising itself isn’t a charitable activity – but nor is “management.” Yet both are erroneously reported under “charitable activities.” Why?
  11. The charity fails to disclose the pay details of the “small management team.” Yet charities must report the pay details of their staff.
  12. PAMT has excessive – and increasing – management costs. Why? That is, in 2015, 38.8% (£241.8k) of the £623.8k income was spent on “management.” While in 2016, the percentage had increased – 43.6% (£249.4k) of the £572.3k income went on “management.”
  13. I put the above points to Ms Cagney in my third email, on 1 June 2017. At date of publication PAMT hasn’t responded to my request for comment.
  14. Sir Hugh is former president of the Association of 
Chief Police Officers (ACPO), predecessor organisation to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). Chief constable Sara Thornton, who in April 2015 became the first chair of NPCC and continues in that role, is also a trustee of PAMT. Two criticisms of ACPO were its lack of transparency, and unaccountability: as a private company it was immune to Freedom of Information requests, for example (registered company number: 03344583). As a charity PAMT is similarly exempt from Freedom of Information requests. It’s also non-transparent, as I’ve shown. What’s worse, the charity has excessive – and increasing – management costs.
  15. There’s another reason why PAMT needs to be more open, transparent and accountable: it’s a recipient of government largesse. “George Osborne, while chancellor, generously committed £1m from the LIBOR funds,” writes Sir Hugh in the Telegraph. That’s handy. Let’s hope PAMT will have more to show for the LIBOR funds than some of the military charities that Mr Osborne gifted large sums to this way. Military charities like Veterans Council, for example (see 17 October 2016 and 23 December 2016 posts).

ASA censures “offensive” GambleAware ad

  1. Following the cover-up at GambleAware, the leading gambling charity (see last post): the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today (7 June 2017) ruled against the charity for its “offensive” cinema ad.
  2. The ad must not appear again in its current form,” said the advertising regulator. GambleAware must, the ASA added, “avoid using similarly offensive and distressing material in their future advertising.”
  3. The ASA ruling: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/responsible-gambling-trust-a17-381656.html.