Brand manager at HRT manufacturer is trustee of charity providing “support, information and networking opportunities” to women with premature menopause

  1. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the main treatment for menopause. The manager of the HRT portfolio at pharmaceutical company Mylan UK is a trustee of The Daisy Network, a charity providing “support, information and networking opportunities” to women with premature menopause (registered charity number: 1077930). At date of publication the charity website fails to disclose her paid role at the drug firm, however. Her fatal conflict of interest as a trustee is hidden.
  2. The charity website is key for transparency and accountability. Daisy hasn’t been required to submit its trustees’ annual report (TAR) and accounts to the Charity Commission in each of the last five financial years because reported income each year was below the £25k threshold. Without TAR and accounts, though, there’s very little information about the charity on the public record. It’s thus easy for The Daisy Network and other small charities, as defined by income, to avoid scrutiny (see 9 September 2015 post). There’s no suggestion that the charity has done anything illegal.
  3. Daisy has five trustees, according to the commission online public register of charities. The trustee biographies on the charity website are vague and incomplete. For a start, the group isn’t explicitly identified as the trustees: it’s simply “our people” (screen shot in Figure 1). Last names are undisclosed. Katie, for example, has worked in the “healthcare industry for over 4 years… [with] experience in advertising, journalism and marketing.” She’s “editor” at the charity.

    Figure 1. Charity The Daisy Network website: “our people” page at 6 July 2017

  4. Katie is actually Katie Sewards, who manages the HRT portfolio at Mylan UK (screen shot in Figure 2). Ms Sewards told Pharmafield in a profile published on 24 April 2017 that she’s used her “[pharma] experience to volunteer my time to a women’s health charity over the past 12 months” (screen shot in Figure 3). The charity isn’t named, though.

    Figure 2. Katie Sewards: brand Manager at Mylan UK at 6 July 2017

    Figure 3. Katie Sewards: voluntary role at “a women’s health charity” at 6 July 2017

  5. Ms Sewards previously worked for Swedish drugmaker Meda, which Mylan took over in 2016: https://www.pharmafield.co.uk/Pf-Fox-News/Talent/2017/04/Mylan-Uks-Katie-Sewards-on-what-it-means-to-make-a-difference.
  6. And last year Meda funded a PR campaign to promote use of HRT in women, a campaign aimed at both primary care professionals AND patients (screen shot in Figure 4). The campaign was run by agency Events 4 Healthcare Ltd (E4H; registered company number: 06237925), whom Ms Sewards thanked for its “superb job” (screen shot in Figure 5).

    Figure 4. Funded by Meda, PR campaign to promote use of HRT in women; aimed at both primary care professionals AND patients at 6 July 2017

    Figure 5. Katie Sewards thanks Events 4 Healthcare Ltd for its “superb job” on HRT PR campaign at 6 July 2017

  7. E4H used a linked organisation, the Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF), that it operates from the same address, to reach primary care workers. Although PCWHF says it’s a charity on its homepage (screen shot in Figure 6), it isn’t one. Rather, it’s a community interest company (CIC; registered company number: 08747435).

    Figure 6. The Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF) “is a charity”: homepage at 6 July 2017

  8. PCWHF now no longer states it’s a charity on the website, after I questioned the claim in an email. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention, this has now been addressed,” said the single-sentence response the next day.
  9. Pharmafield, who published the profile of Ms Sewards (see paras 4-5), is part of the E4H group, too.
  10. In July 2016, PCWHF published its “HRT Myths Uncovered” document, the basis of the PR campaign: HRT-Myths-Uncovered. The two-page document states: “Funded and supported by Meda Pharmaceuticals. Developed by Primary Care Women’s Health Forum (PCWHF). Please note Meda has had no involvement in the content of this graphic, but reviewed for factual accuracy.” It finishes by telling readers: “For further information, please visit Menopause Matters [a website] & The Daisy Network.” There’s no mention that Meda is linked to Daisy (via Ms Sewards), however.
  11. The “HRT Myths Uncovered” document thus creates the impression that The Daisy Network is an independent charity. It isn’t. The link with Meda (now Mylan UK) undermines its independence and credibility. What’s worse, Daisy hides the link.
  12. Independence and credibility are critical for any charity, let alone one for women experiencing premature menopause. The problem is that The Daisy Network is only the latest menopause charity to be entangled with pharmaceutical companies. In November 2015, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its guideline on the diagnosis and management of menopause. On the back of the NICE guideline, charity the British Menopause Society (BMS; registered charity number: 1015144) organised a PR campaign to “educate women about all aspects of the menopause and post-reproductive health.” The trustees documented the objectives of the campaign in their annual report, made up to 31 December 2015. They also stated that it was funded by “three unrestricted educational grants” from “pharmaceutical companies and a healthcare company.” But they failed to disclose the names of the three firms whose grants funded the national PR campaign.
  13. I therefore asked BMS in an email to identify the companies. They were: Novo Nordisk, Mylan and Pharmacare, said Sara Moger, BMS chief executive (email). Mylan again, then.
  14. I shall return in a later post to something else Ms Moger told me in the email about BMS’s reporting of funding from companies.
  15. In the month before publication of the NICE guideline, Mylan funded a controversial PR campaign – in its own name this time – to promote use of HRT for menopause, as Sarah Boseley revealed in The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/nov/07/scientists-fear-pr-campaign-underplays-hrt-cancer-risks. Here’s the relevant Mylan press release on 19 October 2015, “Women may be suffering needlessly during menopause:” http://www.mylan.co.uk/en-gb/news/2014/women-may-be-suffering-needlessly-during-menopause. I asked Ms Moger in an email whether the Mylan press release was part of the BMS national PR campaign. Why the question? For two reasons. First, the press release is entirely consistent with the objectives of the BMS national PR campaign, according to the charity TAR, made up to 31 December 2015, p.6. Second, something not mentioned by The Guardian: the two non-Mylan experts quoted in the press release are linked or have been linked to BMS/WHC: Susan Quilliam (screen shot in Figure 7) and Dr Sarah Gray (screen shot in Figure 8).

    Figure 7. Susan Quilliam joins medical advisory panel of charity Women’s Health Concern at 16 June 2017

    Figure 8. Dr Sarah Gray “sat on the British Menopause Society council for 10 years”: speaker biography for 2017 PCWHF annual conference at 5 July 2017

  16. Charity Women’s Health Concern (WHC) is the self-styled “patient arm” of BMS (registered charity number: 279651). Ms Moger is one of the three trustees, and again public contact.
  17. The Mylan press release wasn’t part of the BMS national PR campaign, replied Ms Moger (email). Nevertheless my question was reasonable for the two reasons above. Something else about BMS’s campaign deserves attention: the PR company the charity used.
  18. Disappointingly, the BMS annual report failed to identify the company. It was Edelman, I can reveal (screen shot in Figure 9). And Edelman acts for Novo Nordisk on menopause treatments, according to a 2013 press release from the drug company for a research paper (screen shot in Figure 10). But it’s cosier than that: Novo Nordisk explicitly mentioned the then BMS affiliations of two co-authors it quoted in the press release for its study, Dr Heather Currie and Dr Nick Panay. Dr Currie has just stepped down as BMS chair, while Dr Panay is a trustee.

    Figure 9. Edelman PR campaign for charity the British Menopause Society at 8 June 2017

    Figure 10. Edelman press release for Novo Nordisk at 8 June 2017

  19. And Dr Panay, who’s former BMS chair, brings us back to The Daisy Network: he’s “a longstanding patron” of the charity (screen shot in Figure 11). It’s a small world.

    Figure 11. Dr Nick Panay: “a longstanding patron” of charity The Daisy Network at 6 July 2017

  20. There’s another problem with Daisy, and it again relates to medications. On 29 June 2017, the charity tweeted a link to its interview on the website Treated.com (screen shot in Figure 12), which describes itself as “a private online health clinic based in the UK” (screen shot in Figure 13). Its services include an online pharmacy. At date of publication there’s a sentence, undated and unexplained, at the foot of each page on Treated.com: “We are reviewing our services and systems and we are unable to process orders at this time.” The same message appears prominently on the homepage. Similarly, callers to its customer service number during the advertised opening hours hear a recorded message that finishes abruptly: “We’re sorry there’s no one available to take your call right now. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you.”

    Figure 12. Charity The Daisy Network on Twitter promoting its interview with Treated.com, online pharmacy at 7 July 2017

    Figure 13. Treated.com “about us” page at 6 July 2017

  21. Treated.com has recently been in the news – for all the wrong reasons. In March this year, regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a damning inspection report into the online provider, as Dr Faye Kirkland reported on the BBC News website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39134061. The CQC suspended its registration “in order to protect patients.” In October 2016, Dr Kirkland exposed Treated.com in her investigation of the inappropriate sale of antibiotics by online pharmacies, for programme 5 live Investigates, on BBC Radio 5 live.
  22. In light of the CQC’s censure and suspension of registration, it’s astonishing that The Daisy Network is happy to be associated with Treated.com. That the charity is promoting its association on Twitter is equally astonishing.
  23. As BMS shows, the problem of menopause charities being too close to the pharmaceutical industry, or reasonably perceived as such, isn’t new. Yet The Daisy Network is a worrying escalation: the manager of the HRT portfolio at a leading drug company is a trustee. She thus has a fatal conflict of interest, actual, potential, or perceived, as a trustee. As a small charity by income, and so without publicly available TAR and accounts, its website is key for transparency and accountability. Of as much concern as the conflict of interest, therefore, is that the charity website hides how it arises. Further, Daisy is happy to be associated with a discredited online pharmacy – and promote its association on Twitter.
  24. At date of publication The Daisy Network hasn’t responded to requests for comment via email.

Our Brave Heroes: fake military charity is no more, says Charity Commission

  1. On 16 March 2017, regulator the Charity Commission published a highly critical “case report” on Our Brave Heroes, a fake military charity from – yes, you’ve guessed it – Blackpool. It’s no longer operating, says the commission. Here is the Charity Commission case report: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-brave-heroes-case-report.
  2. It’s taken a while, though: I exclusively exposed Our Brave Heroes on 26 October 2015.
  3. Andrew Penman in The Daily Mirror newspaper then used my investigation as the lead story in his column on 19 November 2015 (see my post that day for a link to his article online). At the end of that year Our Brave Heroes also featured on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme, when I appeared again as a live studio guest (see my 21 December 2015 post).
  4. Mr Penman has today (16 March 2017) revisited Our Brave Heroes after the commission’s intervention: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/collectors-brave-heroes-told-generous-10032216.

Charity donations used to fund work at company jointly owned by charity chief executive and charity trustee

  1. Money raised by charity Our Local Heroes Foundation (OLHF) was used to fund work at a company owned by the charity founder, who’s also chief executive and president of the charity. A trustee of OLHF, with the same surname as the charity chief executive, is also director of the company. In 2014, I exclusively exposed OLHF for both its excessive fundraising costs and highly misleading ways of working when fundraising. Nevertheless it wasn’t until March 2016 that the Charity Commission published a highly critical “case report” on the charity, identifying “serious regulatory concerns”. Here I now show, too, that there’s a lack of clarity and transparency around the relationships between OLHF and the complex web of companies owned by the charity founder, Steve Pearson. Finally, links between the new chair of the charity and Mr Pearson demonstrate that questions remain about the governance of OLHF.
  2. Hitherto Ive examined the fundraising activities only of OLHF, a military charity based in Bamber Bridge, Preston (registered charity number: 1142029). It isn’t a member of the official umbrella organisation for military charities, the Confederation of Service Charities (Cobseo). In 2014, I exclusively exposed the charity for both its excessive fundraising costs and highly misleading ways of working with a rip-off professional fundraiser, Prize Promotions Limited of Blackpool (PPL; registered company number: 07829587). Previously, I’d shown that the same discredited professional fundraiser had worked with failed military charity Afghan Heroes (AH; registered charity number: 1132340). I first wrote about PPL and its role with AH in January 2014, just after the Charity Commission announced in December 2013 that it’d opened a statutory inquiry into AH. That inquiry continues.
  3. On 9 November 2014, I appeared for the first time as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. There we exposed PPL and its work for the two military charities. OLHF had told BBC Radio 5 live then that it would stop working with PPL – only to still be working together at the end of that year (see my 26 December 2014 post). In February 2015, I reported that the charity was finally working with another company, newly formed Targeted Management Limited (TML). Yet TML is owned by the same person behind PPL, Tony Chadwick. Unlike PPL, TML claims it isn’t a professional fundraiser; rather it’s a “management” company. Nevertheless TML appears to perform or have performed on behalf of OLHF some or all of the same activities as predecessor PPL (see my 11 August 2015 post).
  4. In January 2015, PPL entered administration, which ended in December that year when the company was wound up by the High Court. Liquidators were duly appointed in February 2016. PPL remains in liquidation.
  5. It wasn’t until March 2016 that the Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, published a highly critical case report on OLHF, identifying “serious regulatory concerns” (see my 4 April 2016 post). These include “a very low level” of charitable expenditure and “high” fundraising costs – only 20% of the money raised in its name actually goes to the charity, a fact I revealed back in 2014. (What took you so long, Charity Commission?) OLHF only avoided a statutory inquiry, the commission’s most serious form of engagement with a charity, because the trustees apparently showed an “open and responsible approach” in their dealings with the commission.
  6. The commission’s case report raises many questions. Why exactly was the commission so lenient on OLHF? I’m not the only one: Stephen Cook, former editor of Third Sector, wrote a column in the charity sector magazine asking the same question: http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-commission-lenient-once/governance/article/1390419. Why, too, did the commission fail to mention rip-off PPL and its role for the charity? The case report examined fundraising concerns involving TML only, without considering the relationship between that company and predecessor PPL, owned, of course, by the same person. A glaring omission.
  7. But now I show that concerns about OLHF extend beyond fundraising. There’s a lack of clarity and transparency around the relationships between OLHF and the complex web of companies owned by the charity founder, Steve Pearson. The charity founder is also its chief executive and president.
  8. The OLHF trustees’ annual report (TAR) with the most recent accounts, for financial year ending (FYE) 28 February 2015, documents payment of grants to beneficiaries for boiler installation. Similarly, grants for boiler installation appear on the “What we have done” page on the OLHF website (screen shot in Figure 1). As you can see, there are no dates on the page for the charitable activities. On 4 July 2016, I therefore asked Des White, chair of the charity, in an email for two dates. First, when did OLHF help “Sarah from Blackburn”? Second, when did it help “Peter from Blackpool”? No response a week later so I sent a reminder. At date of publication I’ve received nothing from the charity.

    Figure 1. “What we have done” page on Our Local Heroes Foundation website at 23 June 2016

    Figure 1. “What we have done” page on Our Local Heroes Foundation website at 23 June 2016

  9. In a glowing testimonial, “Peter from Blackpool” praises by name the company that fitted the boiler, Premier Property Maintenance. Indeed, he recommends them. So who are Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited (registered company number: 08933567)? Well, all three directors share the same surname – Pearson. First, there’s Steve Pearson, who founded OLHF. More about him and his exact role at the charity in a moment. Second, meet Antony Pearson, who was a trustee of the charity until 20 October 2015. Finally, we have Robert Pearson. Incorporated on 11 March 2014, at date of publication the company’s first accounts are eight months overdue at Companies House.
  10. Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited isn’t actually on the Gas Safe Register, but another of Steve Pearson‘s companies is – B-Safe Property Services Limited (registered company number: 07501243). He’s the sole director. The Gas Safe registered engineer at B-Safe is familiar: Robert Pearson (screen shot in Figure 2). At date of publication B-Safe‘s accounts are more than 2.5 years overdue at Companies House. The company is again threatened with being struck off for failing to file its accounts on time.

    Figure 2. B-Safe on Gas Safe Register at 28 June 2016

    Figure 2. B-Safe on Gas Safe Register at 28 June 2016

  11. Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited and B-Safe Property Services Limited are just two of Steve Pearson’s companies. He owns a complex web of companies, several of which have “Our Local Heroes” in their names: Our Local Heroes Monitoring Services Limited; Our Local Heroes Limited; and OLHF Events Limited (now renamed Challenger Events Management Limited). Warriors of Steel Limited is another in his empire: the charity held two fundraising events called Warriors of Steel, according to the TAR with the first OLHF accounts, for FYE 28 February 2012.
  12. As I said, Steve Pearson is the charity founder. He’s been president since registration of OLHF as a charity on 20 May 2011, according to his LinkedIn page (screen shot in Figure 3). Mr Pearson is also chief executive: see http://www.garstangcourier.co.uk/centre-for-ex-servicemen-in-fowlers-hill-wood-causes-controversy-1-7087310. He runs the charity: see http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/crime/collector-stole-cash-donated-to-war-heroes-1-7343277. There it says: “Run by businessman Steve Pearson, the charity finds employment for injured military veterans by setting up companies for them. If successful, the revenue from the ventures is invested to create further companies and more jobs.” But, as we’ve seen, there’s a lack of clarity and transparency around the relationships between OLHF and the complex web of companies owned by Mr Pearson. Here I’ve shown that money raised by the charity was used to fund work at a company owned by the charity founder, who’s also chief executive and president of the charity. A trustee of OLHF, with the same surname as the charity chief executive, is also director of the company.

    Figure 3. Steve Pearson LinkedIn page at 28 June 2016

    Figure 3. Steve Pearson LinkedIn page at 28 June 2016

  13. The charity had four trustees in its first year, three called Pearson. None of the now three trustees, though, have that surname. The chair of a charity usually line-manages the chief executive on behalf of the trustees (see the Charity Commission guide, “The essential trustee: what you need to know, what you need to do” (CC3)). Yet new chair Des White set up a company with Steve Pearson AFTER becoming a trustee on 16 February 2015. Community Covenant Housing Management Limited (registered company number: 09598436) was incorporated on 19 May 2015, with Mr White and Mr Pearson as the two directors and two shareholders. Mr White resigned as a director on 1 April 2016, but remains as a shareholder, according to the company’s annual return made up to 19 May 2016. Community Covenant Housing Management Limited is active with Mr Pearson as sole director. Mr White, meanwhile, is sole director of a new company with a similar name, Community Covenant Homes Ltd (registered company number: 09381764). He incorporated that company on 9 January 2015 – that is, BEFORE becoming a trustee of OLHF. He’s sole director, too, of another similar-sounding new company, Community Covenant Development Limited (registered company number: 09930786). Date of incorporation was 29 December 2015, so AFTER Mr White became a trustee. The registered office address of both Community Covenant Homes Ltd and Community Covenant Development Limited is the modestly titled Pearson House, also the address of the charity, according to its website and the Charity Commission public register. The links between Mr White and Mr Pearson are a potential concern: are the trustees only really in charge of the charity? The trustees must take joint responsibility for management of OLHF and be able to challenge Mr Pearson, who could be perceived to be a single dominant individual at the charity. It was him, tellingly, not the then trustees, who spoke for OLHF to BBC Radio 5 live in our November 2014 programme, for example.
  14. The arrangements for boiler installation revealed here and the previously documented fundraising concerns both prompt the same reasonable question: is the charity being used for inappropriate private gain?
  15. STOP PRESS: Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited IS now on the Gas Safe Register for business registration number 520996 (screen shot in Figure 4). The trading name for that number on the register was changed from B-Safe (Figure 2) on 10 August 2016.

    Figure 4. Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited on Gas Safe Register at 11 August 2016

    Figure 4. Premier Property Maintenance NW Limited on Gas Safe Register at 11 August 2016

Rip-off professional fundraisers – on BBC Radio 5 live

  1. On 20 December 2015, I appeared again as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. The programme revisited charity scams involving professional fundraisers with excessive fundraising costs. This was a follow-up to its November 2014 programme when I also came into the studio (see my 10 November 2014 post).
  2. This time 5 live Investigates used my investigation of the “charity” Our Brave Heroes (see my 26 October 2015 post), which also appeared in The Daily Mirror (see my 19 November 2015 post). Presenter Adrian Goldberg interviewed live on air the Blackpool man behind the fake charity, Kristofer Sutcliffe. It didn’t end well for Mr Sutcliffe.
  3. You can listen to yesterday’s episode of 5 live Investigates for four weeks: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06skyv5.

Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015

  1. My 11 August 2015 post (para 2) reported that the charity Our Local Heroes Foundation was apparently still working with Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser, when the charity exhibited at Gadget Show Live 2015 in April. The link I provided there on the Gadget Show Live website is no longer functional as the site has been updated for next year’s show. So here is a screen shot (Figure 1) of the charity page on the Gadget Show Live website, showing Prize Promotions Limited named in the link itself:

    Figure 1. Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015 at 6 July 2015

    Figure 1. Our Local Heroes Foundation at Gadget Show Live 2015 at 6 July 2015

  2. As I wrote 11 August 2015, this was further evidence that Our Local Heroes Foundation had continued working with Prize Promotions Limited despite telling 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme, in November 2014 that it would stop doing so (see my 10 November 2014 post).

Targeted Management Limited: censorship and secrecy

  1. There is a lack of clarity and transparency about new company Targeted Management Limited (TML) and its role(s) for two military charities in the North-West, Our Local Heroes Foundation (OLHF) and Support The Heroes (STH). There is also a lack of clarity and transparency about each charity itself: its business model and costs of working with TML. Here I show why I consider this to be deliberate opacity.
  2. TML of Blackpool (company number: 09036445) is owned by the same person as Prize Promotions Limited (PPL), the discredited professional fundraiser now in administration (company number: 07829587). This blog has exclusively revealed how PPL has consistently misled the public across the UK in its rip-off fundraising activities, often working illegally. STH (registered charity number: 1155853) is the third “heroes” military charity linked to Tony Chadwick and his companies. So PPL was official professional fundraiser for first Afghan Heroes (AH; registered charity number: 1132340) and then OLHF (registered charity number: 1142029). I first wrote about PPL and its role with AH January 2014, just after the Charity Commission announced December 2013 that it had opened a statutory inquiry into AH. That inquiry continues. On 9 November 2014, I appeared as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. There we exposed PPL and its work for the two military charities. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/our-local-heroes-foundation-to-stop-working-with-prize-promotions-limited-on-bbc-radio-5-live/) OLHF had told BBC Radio 5 live then that it would stop working with PPL – only to still be working together December last year. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/man-conned-into-buying-a-prize-draw-ticket-in-the-name-of-our-local-heroes-foundation-video/). It’s worse than that, though. OLHF was still working with PPL April 2015, it seems, according to the official listing of the OLHF stand at the Gadget Show Live 2015 exhibition, the NEC Birmingham: http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/Exhibitor/Prize-Promotions-Ltd-1. PPL is named in the link, as you can see. In February 2015, I wrote that TML, Mr Chadwick’s new company, was now involved with OLHF. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/from-prize-promotions-limited-to-targeted-management-limited/) There I alleged that TML was a professional fundraiser for OLHF.
  3. In April 2015, I repeated the allegation that TML is or has been a professional fundraiser for OLHF – in my first post on new charity STH. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/revealed-the-hidden-blackpool-company-presenting-itself-as-charity-support-the-heroes-to-recruit-paid-fundraisers/) I didn’t allege that TML has or had any role with STH. That post drew a response (email) from STH trustee Pauline White, which I promptly and happily published in full without being asked. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/email-from-support-the-heroes-dated-5-may-2015/) There Ms White said TML is a “management” company, not a professional fundraiser.
  4. I first made the allegation that TML was a professional fundraiser for OLHF in good faith, carefully with evidence. The evidence? An announcement from founder Steve Pearson on the OLHF website dated 19 February 2015, which I linked to. There Mr Pearson published the results of “the first prize draw” organised by TML on behalf of his charity. Professional fundraiser PPL had previously organised prize draws for OLHF. Given both companies apparently perform the same role here – an ostensibly independent company organising prize draws on behalf of OLHF – I inferred that TML, too, was a professional fundraiser. In other words, this is an operational definition of “professional fundraiser”.
  5. OLHF has again recently redesigned its website. The charity has now removed Mr Pearson’s announcement dated 19 February 2015 on TML and “the first prize draw”.
  6. I’d also archived the OLHF web page, again providing a link in my 3 March 2015 blog post. Yet the charity has now made an intervention which means that the archived web page is no longer publicly available, either. So clicking the link in my 3 March 2015 blog post produces the message on the Internet Archive (archive.org): “Page cannot be crawled or displayed due to robots.txt.” OLHF has now set up a robots.txt file for its website: http://www.ourlocalheroes.org.uk/robots.txt. This is a two-line text file, as you can see. The first line is “User-agent: *”; the second line: “Disallow: /”. This robots.txt file instructs all robots to stay out of the website. The Internet Archive follows the instructions in robots.txt, including retroactively, as the site’s FAQs page makes clear. Hence now the unavailability of the archived web page.
  7. Not only is there censorship via robots.txt and disappearing web pages. But also secrecy on the OLHF website: there is currently nothing about TML and its role(s) anywhere. Searching the OLHF website for “Targeted Management” using the site’s search function produces no hits, either. Similarly, the STH website: there is currently nothing about TML and its role(s) anywhere.
  8. Remember: we only know that STH works with TML from Ms White’s response (email) to my first post on her charity. My post prompted STH to disclose – to me, at least – TML’s involvement.
  9. There is important, new and independent evidence on the role(s) of TML for OLHF: the report in The Blackpool Gazette newspaper 6 July 2015, “Collector stole cash donated to war heroes.” (It’s available on the newspaper’s website: http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/news/crime/collector-stole-cash-donated-to-war-heroes-1-7343277) I highlight three facts there. First, thief Simon Lacey “worked for the company Targeted Management which collected funds for the Our Local Heroes Foundation.” Second, he “disappeared with money collected from merchandise sales and donations for the Bamber Bridge-based Our Local Heroes Foundation.” Third, Mr Lacey “went all over the country raising money for the charity.” So TML raises funds for OLHF by selling merchandise and collecting donations around the country, according to the report. Sounds familiar: professional fundraiser PPL, too, had previously raised funds for the charity by selling merchandise and collecting donations around the country.
  10. TML therefore appears to perform or have performed on behalf of OLHF some or all of the same activities as predecessor PPL. Yet unlike PPL, it isn’t a professional fundraiser. TML is a “management” company.
  11. There is deliberate secrecy when TML recruits staff, too. The company consistently withholds its name when advertising posts on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website, for example. TML is the company shown as “confidential” in the Universal Jobmatch job ad for a charity fundraiser in my 29 April 2015 blog post, screen shot in Figure 2 there, a Freedom of Information request to DWP confirmed. Further, the charity isn’t identified in the job ad, either.
  12. One difference between TML and PPL: the “management” company actually has a website; PPL has never had one. Yet targetedmanagement.com is laughably vague and unconvincing: none of the “wide range of organisations” for which TML allegedly provides “a range of management services” is identified by name or business sector, for instance.
  13. What is the motivation for the censorship and secrecy? It is reasonable to consider this to be deliberate opacity. There is a need for clarity and transparency about TML and its role(s) for OLHF and STH. For each charity, there is also a need for clarity and transparency about its business model and costs of working with TML. The money flows in and around OLHF and STH should be disclosed.

Revealed: the hidden Blackpool company presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes to recruit paid fundraisers

  1. A Blackpool company owned by the same people as Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser now in administration, is presenting itself as a military charity to recruit paid fundraisers. From the same address as Prize Promotions Limited, Local VIP Ltd is presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes on an independent jobs website. Support The Heroes is a newly registered charity, officially based in Kirkham, a small Lancashire town midway between Blackpool and Preston. Amazingly, the charity doesn’t disclose a landline phone number on its website or the Charity Commission public register, only a mobile. The charity website, which is vague and unconvincing, says nothing about working with a professional fundraiser. Tony Chadwick, director of Prize Promotions Limited and Local VIP, has long-standing business relationships with two of the five trustees of the charity. The three of them helped run a life insurance firm in Blackpool, for example, which is now dissolved. Also, these two trustees and another one are currently running various companies with Bernard Chadwick, presumably a relation of Tony Chadwick. (Bernard Chadwick was a director of the life insurance company as well.) The registered address for many of these businesses is the same Kirkham one used for Support The Heroes.
  2. Support The Heroes (registered charity number: 1155853) is currently advertising two roles on Indeed, an independent jobs website: http://www.indeed.co.uk. Well, that’s how it appears: Support The Heroes directly posted the ads there and is shown as the recruiting company. The two roles are: “Charity Fundraiser” (screen shot in Figure 1) and “Charity Wristband Fundraiser” (screen shot in Figure 2).
    Figure 1. Charity Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 1. Charity Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 2. Charity Wristband Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

    Figure 2. Charity Wristband Fundraiser job ad at 15 April 2015

  3. But both ads list the charity’s location as Blackpool FY3, not Kirkham. Prior to going into administration, Blackpool FY3 was the trading address for Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser. Its full trading address was: 22 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, FY3 9AQ. Local VIP is also there. Tony Chadwick is director of Prize Promotions Limited (Company number: 07829587). Luke Varley used to be a director of the company, too, until resigning 4 April 2014. Both Mr Chadwick and Mr Varley are also directors of Local VIP Ltd (Company number: 07203970). This company sells the “Local VIP Card”, a discount card: http://www.localvipcard.co.uk.
  4. Applicants for both roles are invited to upload their CVs or call Dave on 07547320277. So no full name, no landline and no full address. Yet searching online for Dave with this number reveals that it’s Dave Ellison, it seems, who is “‎National Venues Manager” at Local VIP, Blackpool, according to his LinkedIn profile (screen shot in Figure 3).

    Figure 3. Dave Ellison LinkedIn profile at 15 April 2015

    Figure 3. Dave Ellison LinkedIn profile at 15 April 2015

  5. As I said, the charity Support The Heroes is shown as the recruiting company in both ads. Indeed, that for “Charity Wristband Fundraiser” (Figure 2) unambiguously says that the “street sellers” will be “working directly for the charity”. Yet it is clear that Local VIP in Blackpool is presenting itself as Support The Heroes.
  6. Support The Heroes is a newly registered military charity, supposedly based in Kirkham, a small Lancashire town midway between Blackpool and Preston: http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/contact.php. Amazingly, the charity doesn’t disclose a landline phone number on its website or the Charity Commission public register, only a mobile. The Charity Commission explicitly warns the public not to donate to charitable collections where fundraising materials only bear a mobile number – see the fourth of nine checks the commission recommends in the London-wide safer giving campaign: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/commission-backs-london-wide-safer-giving-campaign. Here it’s even worse: the charity itself only uses a mobile number.
  7. The charity website, which is vague and unconvincing, says nothing about working with a professional fundraiser. So the charity says it conducted its first “skill prize draw” 11 February 2015, but there is no mention of a professional fundraiser on the web page at 18 April 2015: http://web.archive.org/web/20150418135108/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/skillprizedraw.php.
  8. There is just one email address on the website: admin@supporttheheroes.org.uk. And no names anywhere, not even on the “About Us” page.
  9. The “Donations” page invites suspicion by not publishing bank account details. Rather, potential donors are asked to call the mobile number for these. Here is the page at 18 April 2015: https://web.archive.org/web/20150418132140/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/donations.php. Also suspicious is that a “Direct Debit form will be available to download soon”. Perhaps it will. Similarly, if you want to buy anything other than a wristband – £3 each – the charity’s online shop will disappoint. “More great items are on the way so check back soon”, it says at 18 April 2015: http://web.archive.org/web/20150418134139/http://www.supporttheheroes.org.uk/store.php.
  10. The website lists the official Twitter page: https://twitter.com/supportthheroes. That’s right, it’s @supportthheroes [sic]. The charity currently has only six followers there. It is unclear why Support The Heroes hasn’t used its correct name on Twitter when @supporttheheroes seems to be available.
  11. Tony Chadwick, director of Prize Promotions Limited and Local VIP, has long-standing business relationships with two of the five trustees of the charity, Pauline White and Pamela Carruthers. Mrs White is listed as public contact for the charity on the Charity Commission website. Mrs Carruthers is registered owner of the charity’s domain name, supporttheheroes.org.uk (source: WHOIS records).The three of them helped run a life insurance firm in Blackpool, for example, which is now dissolved – Financial and Professional Services Limited (Company number: 00651908). Also, these two trustees and another one, Nicola Swarbrick, are currently running various companies with Bernard Chadwick, presumably a relation of Tony Chadwick. (Bernard Chadwick was a director of the life insurance company as well.) The registered address for many of these businesses is the same Kirkham one used for Support The Heroes.
  12. Charity trustee Mrs White is the director of a new company with a name that raises serious questions about Support The Heroes. This firm is Support The Heroes (Fundraising) Limited (Company number: 09284788) and its registered address and trading address are the same familiar Kirkham one. The charity name is clearly similar to that of Mrs White’s company. Yet the charity is a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO) and as such can’t have the same name as a registered company, says the Charity Commission. It states: “Check Companies House to make sure that there are no companies with a similar name to your CIO.” (https://www.gov.uk/how-to-choose-a-charity-name) The charity predates the firm: Support The Heroes was registered at the commission 19 February 2014, while Support The Heroes (Fundraising) Limited was incorporated 28 October 2014.
  13. Prize Promotions Limited, the discredited professional fundraiser, is in administration, as I reported in January. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/prize-promotions-limited-in-administration/) This blog has exclusively revealed how Prize Promotions Limited has consistently misled the public across the UK in its rip-off fundraising activities, often working illegally. Support The Heroes is the third “heroes” military charity linked to Tony Chadwick and his companies. So Prize Promotions Limited was official professional fundraiser for first Afghan Heroes and then Our Local Heroes Foundation. I first wrote about Prize Promotions Limited and its role with Afghan Heroes January 2014, just after the Charity Commission announced December 2013 that it had opened a statutory inquiry into Afghan Heroes. That inquiry continues. On 9 November 2014, I appeared as a live studio guest on 5 live Investigates, the BBC Radio 5 live programme. There we exposed Prize Promotions Limited and its work for the two military charities. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/our-local-heroes-foundation-to-stop-working-with-prize-promotions-limited-on-bbc-radio-5-live/) Our Local Heroes Foundation had told BBC Radio 5 live then that it would stop working with Prize Promotions Limited – only to still be working together in December last year. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/man-conned-into-buying-a-prize-draw-ticket-in-the-name-of-our-local-heroes-foundation-video/) In the latest twist, Our Local Heroes Foundation switched to a seemingly new official professional fundraiser, Targeted Management Limited (company number: 09036445). But Targeted Management Limited is just another new company owned by Tony Chadwick, as I revealed in February. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/from-prize-promotions-limited-to-targeted-management-limited/)
  14. The charity name itself is questionable. It is too similar to Help for Heroes (registered charity number: 1120920), the high-profile military charity. I don’t understand why the Charity Commission allowed the name given the similarity. What makes it worse, Help for Heroes is so well-known and its cause so popular that most reported frauds relating to military charities derive from “charities” with names similar to Help for Heroes, says the police. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/charity-fraudsters-use-help-for-heroes-popularityto-help-themselves-9242465.html) [This report appeared in the print Independent 7 April 2014 as “Charity fraudsters use Heroes’ popularity to help themselves”.] So the similarity of the charity name to Help for Heroes isn’t just likely to mislead the public. It is reasonable to be suspicious of any “heroes” military charity because of the documented fraud risk. Support The Heroes therefore needs to be scrutinised. Why exactly is it using this name?
  15. More generally, any new military charity deserves scrutiny. In May 2014, General Sir Mike Jackson, the then new president of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said there are too many military charities in an interview for The Independent. The outgoing chief executive of the Charity Commission, Sam Younger, agreed a month later in the same newspaper. The large number of legitimate charities in the sector is confusing for the public and those who serve. Yet as I said in a letter again in The Independent September 2014, this isn’t only about duplication and inefficiencies. This over-supply and the fact that military charities have become one of the most popular causes – consider Help for Heroes – also mean fraudsters are active in this charity sector. So a new military charity adds to the potential confusion, making it easier for bogus charities to flourish. (https://dralexmay.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/letter-in-the-independent-on-fraud-in-the-charity-sector-and-the-number-of-military-charities/) For any new military charity, we need to ask: is it really necessary?
  16. The name Support The Heroes is bad enough. But this is the third “heroes” military charity linked to Tony Chadwick and his companies. This blog has exclusively revealed how Prize Promotions Limited – now in administration – has consistently misled the public across the UK in its rip-off fundraising activities, often working illegally. Here I have exposed another act of bad faith: one of his companies is presenting itself as charity Support The Heroes to recruit paid fundraisers. The newly registered charity only uses a mobile phone number for its business, not disclosing a landline. While the charity website looks dodgy – it is vague and unconvincing. Finally, Tony Chadwick isn’t independent of the charity trustees. In short, it is reasonable to question the legitimacy of Support The Heroes.