Chief executive of Northern Irish animal charity suspended

The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has started disciplinary proceedings against Stephen Philpott

The chief executive of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been suspended after an investigation into the management of the charity.

The charity has started disciplinary proceedings against Stephen Philpott. USPCA members were told about his suspension at its annual general meeting yesterday.

In a statement, a USPCA spokeswoman said the charity had completed a full review of corporate governance procedures and as a result had implemented new governance structures.

"The out workings of these new governance systems have led to issues of concern being identified with regard to the management of the charity," she said.

"This has led to the suspension of the chief executive, Stephen Philpott, and, following an independent investigation, the issuing of disciplinary proceedings."

The governance review came after the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland closed a long-running statutory inquiry into the USPCA’s governance in February last year.

The inquiry was opened in December 2013, but the charity appealed against it, before withdrawing its appeal in an attempt to reach a resolution with the CCNI out of court.

The tribunal eventually allowed the appeal in September 2014, but criticised both parties for their handling of the situation.

The inquiry report praised the charity for its cooperation and said it had worked well to address CCNI’s concerns, although it said the regulator would continue to monitor the charity.

CCNI declined to comment on Philpott’s suspension.

The USPCA spokeswoman said the charity was unable to comment further while disciplinary proceedings were ongoing.

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