The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to Hope House School Limited as part of an investigation into the governance, management and administration of the charity.
A statutory inquiry was opened into the charity in October 2017 after the Commission conducted a books and records inspection following an anonymous complaint about the charity’s governance and administration.
The investigation, which is still ongoing, aims 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 will also look at whether potential conflicts of interest and connected party transactions have been properly managed and whether there has been unauthorised trustee benefit.
The charity was set up to advance the education of children who suffer from neurological and psychological conditions such as Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, autistic spectrum disorders, Asperger’s syndrome and Dyspraxia.
Guy Hollander from Mazars has been appointed as an interim manager to the exclusion of the trustees. However one of the trustees is the principal of the school, and the order does not exclude this trustee from the principal role.
Hollander has taken on full control of the day-to-day management and administration of the charity from the current trustees until the Commission makes a further order.
The school term commenced on Monday and it is the "interim manager’s intention that the charity will continue to provide education and services to the school’s pupils who are all faced with a wide spectrum of autism".
Harvey Grenville, head of investigations and enforcement at the Charity Commission, 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 is ongoing.