Regulator appoints interim manager at school after amid governance concerns

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager at an independent school due to concerns about the governance, management and administration of the charity.

The regulator opened an investigation into Hope House School in October 2017 to examine regulatory concerns about the governance of the charity, whether the trustees had exercised sufficient oversight and control of the charity, the adequacy of financial controls and whether funds had been properly spent on the objects of the charity.

It also wanted to examine whether potential conflicts of interest and connected party transactions have been properly managed and whether there has been unauthorised trustee benefit.

In light of its investigation, the regulator appointed Guy Hollander of Mazars as an interim manager to the exclusion of the trustees. It said one of the trustees is the principal of the school, but the order does not exclude this trustee from that employee role.

Interim managers are usually appointed to take over the running of a charity where the Charity Commission has identified misconduct or mismanagement, or there is a need to protect the charity’s property.

Hollander has now taken on full control of the day-to-day management and administration of the charity from the current trustees until the regulator makes a further order.

The school term commenced on 6 September 2018 and the regulator said Hollander intends for the charity to continue to provide education and services to the school’s pupils who are all faced with a wide spectrum of autism.

Commenting on the appointment, Charity Commission head of investigations and enforcement, Harvey Grenville said: "We were not satisfied that the current governance and administration arrangements were adequately meeting the needs of this charity. This appointment is an important protective measure for the charity and those it was set up to help.

"Part of the interim manager’s duties will be to establish the viability of the charity and determine the most appropriate option regarding its future. He is tasked with ensuring that the charity continues its service provision while he completes his appointment."

The Charity Commission’s investigation continues.

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