15 May 2014
Chair, LankellyChase Foundation from 1 August 2006
Dame Suzi Leather was chair of the Charity Commission from 2006 to 2012. In October 2012 she took up the position of chair at the LankellyChase Foundation and in January 2013 will join the council of the GMC.
Just after her appointment, at the Charity Commission the government passed the 2006 Charities Act, which stated that charities must provide a “benefit to the general public” in order to claim charitable status. Much of her chairmanship was consumed with determining how the Charity Commission will decide whether a charity provides public benefit.
How this public benefit test affects independent schools has been the subject of much media scrutiny, and this has earned Leather plenty of personal and professional criticism from those who support the charitable status of public schools. As a former public schoolgirl herself, who educates one of her own children at private school, she had to withdraw from the debate after taking legal advice. Certain factions of the media also like to focus on the fact that she is a glamorous and attractive woman and a career “quangocrat”, as if those attributes automatically preclude her from doing a good job in her current role.
From 2002-2006, she was chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and has also chaired the School Food Trust, the Food Standards Association and the Exeter and District Community NHS Trust.
She has a degree in politics from Exeter University and an MA in European politics from Leicester University. She is an active member of the Labour party.
She was made a Dame of the Order of the British Empire in January 2006.
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