On Thursday 7 November, 2019, Jon Andrewes and Alistair Gibson, the former chief executive and former finance director of St Margaret’s Hospice, were found not guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud by a jury at Bristol Crown Court. Two other former employees have previously pleaded guilty to the same charge.
No one involved in running or working at St Margaret’s Hospice Care today was accused of any wrongdoing.
The case concerned irregularities in how grant funds were obtained and spent. There was never any suggestion that public donations were misused.
The charges to which two people have pleaded guilty were historic, dating from 2010 to 2015. No one personally benefited from the fraud.
These matters were discovered after Ann Lee took over as chief executive of St Margaret’s in 2015. She commissioned an internal investigation and we reported our findings to Hospice UK. This in turn led to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority investigation, an inquiry with which we fully cooperated throughout.
We have since strengthened our governance policies and procedures to ensure that what happened between 2010 and 2015 cannot happen in future. Since this time, we have received two ‘Outstanding’ ratings from the Care Quality Commission for our Taunton and Yeovil sites, as well as our community provision. Both of these inspections include an outstanding rating for leadership. Our Board of Trustees have also completed a Cass Business School governance review.
We believe it is essential for continued public trust in charities that when past wrongdoing is uncovered, it is reported and investigated rather than being swept under the carpet, even when this presents considerable and immediate challenges for maintaining the charity’s good name and reputation in the community that it serves.
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