Regeneration charity chief to step down

The chief executive of a troubled social regeneration charity has announced that she is to step down.

Maria Donoghue-Mills will step down as chief executive of the Novas Scarman Group at the end of January.

She joined the Novas Group in 1995, was co-chief executive of the combined Novas Scarman group since its 1998 inception, and became sole chief executive when Michael Wake took voluntary redundancy last June.

In July last year, a statutory inquiry by the Tenant Services Authority reported that the group’s board and executive team had failed to "exercise proper management of the financial affairs of NSG", leading to major financial difficulties at the charity.

The inquiry also said the senior management had failed to fund necessary improvements to its Arlington House hostel in the London borough of Camden, despite having assured the Government and borough that it would do so.

Novas Scarman said it accepted the findings that it did not exercise full management of its finances during parts of 2008.

Reacting to Donoghue-Mills' decision to step down, chair Andrew Barnett said Donoghue-Mills "has been actively engaged in addressing a range of difficult aspects raised by the TSA inquiry of last year ... Maria has played a critical part in making the organisation what it is today".

Donoghue-Mills said: "I feel I have fully delivered the foundations for the future and after 15 years I’m ready for a new challenge.

"I’m leaving Novas Scarman in great hands; I have a good deputy and interim CEO in place, and a very long standing and experienced Senior Management Team."

Asked if she believes she has left the charity on a sound financial footing, Donoghue-Mills said: "Absolutely. The financial position is in surplus again this year, we have a new chair and an enhanced board. Novas Scarman has won nearly £3 million from new funding sources in the last eight months."

Donoghue-Mills will be replaced in the short term by Susie Parsons, a management consultant and former chief executive of the Commission for Racial Equality (now the Equality and Human Rights Commission).

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