Regulator to investigate whether disqualified trustee is still involved in armed forces legal charity

The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into an armed forces legal charity amid concerns that a disqualified former trustee is still involved in its management.

Dr Alan Blacker had been a founding trustee of the Joint Armed Forces Legal Advocacy Service (JAFLAS) charity and had also held several executive roles including director general and chief executive.

However, in 2020 he was convicted of benefit fraud after he was found to be claiming disability living allowance dishonestly. He had claimed he could not walk without help but was then found to be driving a miniature train and taking part in a variety of other physical activities.

Former solicitor Blacker was then automatically disqualified from acting as a trustee or a senior charity manager.

But as of July this year Blacker “was still listed as a director of the charity and as being a person of significant control on Companies House records”, as the charity is a charitable company, according to the Commission.

The regulator’s inquiry will consider whether Blacker “has continued to play a role in the charity”. Doing so “whilst disqualified has both criminal and civil consequences”, warns the regulator.

The Commission will also investigate trustees’ response to the automatic disqualification of a trustee “and their decision making regarding that individual’s continued involvement in the charity”.

Blacker had applied to the Commission for a waiver regarding his automatic disqualification, but this was rejected. He appealed this rejection to the Charity Tribunal but lost that appeal.

The Charity Commission has pointed out that the JAFLAS does not have an official connection to HM Armed Forces.

JAFLAS has three trustees, according to the Charity Register. All were appointed in 2020.

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