Charity Commission watchdog appoints interim managers to Island Health Trust

Interim managers have been appointed after Suzanne Goodband quit as chairwoman of Island Health Trus

Interim managers have been appointed after Suzanne Goodband quit as chairwoman of Island Health Trust. Picture: Google and (inset) Suzanne Goodband Solutions - Credit: Google

The Charity Commission has appointed interim managers to the controversial Island Health Trust.

The watchdog started an investigation into the East Ferry Road trust in November 2017, looking at its NHS funding and the £3.1million public assets it holds.

The commission announced the appointment on Monday, July 22, of Helen Briant and Lucy James from the law firm Trowers & Hamlins LLP as interim managers.

The inquiry focuses on the spending of charitable funds. It has found that the issues being investigated led to the direct loss of charity money and the options for recovery have not yet been sufficiently explored.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: "[The interim managers] will independently examine and provide advice on potential claims against the former trustees.

"The current trustees will continue to remain responsible for matters relating to the charity's operation, management and administration."

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs called publicly for former chairwoman Suzanne Goodband to stand down in January 2018 expressing alarm that her consultancy, Suzanne Goodband Interim Solutions, had been paid "massive sums" from NHS funds in 2016.

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Mr Biggs said this week: "I welcome the commission's decision to send in a team to continue the investigation into former Island Health trustees."

Ms Goodband quit in December after a two-year long campaign by the community, councillors, the mayor and Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I'm glad the end is in sight for the campaign and we will get at least some of the taxes for the NHS which weren't spent the way they should have been."

But Cllr Peter Golds has called for trustees linked to the controversy be replaced.

He said: "To ensure confidence in the investigation, three of the existing trustees having served under Ms Goodband must be required to stand aside during the investigation.

"The fourth trustee, Cllr Candida Ronald, was appointed this year and should remain with the interim managers until the investigation is completed."

An Island Health spokesman vowed its trustees would work with the interim managers.

"The current trustees are committed to rebuilding trust with the communities we serve," he said.