Charity chiefs told to publish their pay

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New report says charities have to be open and honest about pay to win public trust

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1st May 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Charities in England have been told they should publish full details of the pay of their senior executives, in order to maintain public trust.

The recommendation comes in a report out today from an inquiry into executive pay set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).

We don’t want anyone ever to be able to claim that charities have hidden or obfuscated information about their salaries

Currently, charities are only legally required to provide an indication of the number of staff in pay bands over £60,000 but NCVO’s report said they must go further and publish the exact salaries of named senior staff members in an easy to find place on their websites.

The umbrella group’s inquiry found senior staff in the third sector tended to earn anything from a quarter to 45% less than their counterparts in equivalently sized private or public organisations, suggesting charities have nothing to hide when it comes to excessive pay.

Martyn Lewis CBE, chair of NCVO and the inquiry panel, said charities should be open and honest with donors as to why staff are worth their salaries.

“Many of the charities the British public are proudest of are major operations employing thousands of people and managing tens or even hundreds of millions of pounds,” he said.

“They need highly skilled professionals in order to run to the highest standard possible and make the best use of our donations. But we believe that where they feel they need to pay high salaries in order to recruit the right people, they should be clear in explaining this to donors.

“Doing this will make it clear that we believe in being open and honest with donors. We don’t want anyone ever to be able to claim that charities have hidden or obfuscated information about their salaries. I hope charities will consider this an extra opportunity to explain their work and the difference that they make.”

The inquiry panel, whose recommendations have received the backing of England’s Charity Commission, also urged charities to consider publishing the ratio between their highest and median salaries to give an indication of pay throughout their organisation.

Earlier this year the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator and the Charity Commission conducted a joint consultation asking for views on the new Statement of Recommended Practice (Sorp).

Of the 179 responses published at the time, most were against the idea of making senior staff salaries more transparent, particularly as it is not currently a requirement of private sector organisations.