Ma­jor pay­out for care home boss de­spite of­fi­cial cen­sure

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Jack Tor­rance

THE multi-mil­lion­aire owner of a care home that was shut down by au­thor­i­ties for pos­ing a “se­ri­ous risk to the life” of its pa­tients took a pay­out worth up to £7m last year af­ter prof­its surged.

Gor­don San­ders, who started Run­wood Homes 25 years ago and re­mains its sole owner and chief ex­ec­u­tive, was paid £5.1m worth of div­i­dends, while the com­pany also handed an un­named direc­tor £2.2m, as­sumed to be Mr San­ders. The fig­ures were re­vealed in doc­u­ments filed at Com­pa­nies House.

Au­thor­i­ties shut­tered Run­wood’s Ash­brooke home in En­niskillen, North­ern Ire­land in Au­gust af­ter an unan­nounced in­spec­tion found there was “a se­ri­ous risk to the life, health and well­be­ing of all those liv­ing [there].”

Olive Macleod, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the coun­try’s Reg­u­la­tion and Qual­ity Im­prove­ment Au­thor­ity, told the BBC at the time: “The pa­tient equip­ment was dirty, the pa­tients looked un­kempt, their hair had not been washed, their clothes were dirty and there was a very strong odour of fae­ces and urine.”

Mr San­ders’ re­wards are com­pa­ra­ble to those of Bri­tain’s busi­ness elite, with the av­er­age FTSE 100 chief ex­ec­u­tive tak­ing home £4.5m last year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the High Pay Cen­tre.

The self-made en­tre­pre­neur and his fam­ily’s wealth was es­ti­mated at £193m in last year’s Sun­day Times Rich List.

Es­sex-based Run­wood, which has 67 care homes in Eng­land and North­ern Ire­land with around 4,000 pa­tients, gen­er­ated rev­enues of £130m last year.

Pre-tax prof­its more than dou­bled to £17m af­ter the com­pany booked £8m worth of prop­erty im­pair­ments in the year be­fore.

The strong per­for­mance comes de­spite warn­ings the so­cial care sec­tor is in cri­sis, as providers strug­gle against lo­cal au­thor­ity fund­ing cuts.

A spokesman for Run­wood de­clined to com­ment on Mr San­ders’ re­mu­ner­a­tion but said Ash­brooke was a re­cent ac­qui­si­tion with a “very com­plex ser­vice model”.

He added: “We took full re­spon­si­bil­ity for short­com­ings and are hum­bled by the sup­port we re­ceived from res­i­dents’ fam­i­lies and the ded­i­ca­tion of staff dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time. All of our homes in North­ern Ire­land have a clean bill of health from RQIA.”

‘The strong per­for­mance comes de­spite warn­ings that the so­cial care sec­tor is in cri­sis’

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