USPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott sacked for gross misconduct

Stephen Philpott was dismissed from the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after a review of corporate governance procedures at the charity

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has dismissed its chief executive for gross misconduct, the charity has confirmed.

Stephen Philpott was suspended in March this year after a review of corporate governance procedures at the charity.

The review came after a long-running statutory inquiry into the charity’s governance by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

The inquiry, which was completed in February 2015, opened in December 2013 but was appealed against by the charity. 

The USPCA later withdrew its appeal in an attempt to reach a resolution with the CCNI out of court, before a tribunal allowed the appeal to take place in September 2014.

In a statement, the charity said that Philpott’s dismissal "related to aspects of his management of the charity following a comprehensive review conducted by an independent consultant, a full disciplinary hearing and an exhaustive appeal process".

The charity also said the board would consider the future management structure of the organisation and an interim manager would continue in their role.

A spokeswoman for the charity declined to name the interim manager, saying that they were not an employee of the charity.

Helen Wilson, the chair of the USPCA, said that the charity’s day-to-day work continued and paid tribute to the staff "who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the service to animals has remained exemplary during a very difficult time".

A statement from the CCNI said: "The commission has been informed of the dismissal of the USPCA’s chief executive, which is an internal matter for the charity’s trustees, and is continuing to monitor the charity as stated in section 3.7 of the statutory inquiry report.

"Trustees of charities have a general duty to take reasonable steps to assess and manage risks to their charity’s activities, beneficiaries, property, work or reputation and to inform the commission of incidents, as appropriate. The commission is satisfied that the charity acted appropriately in contacting the commission in relation to this matter."

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