Share

Sketch: The Charity Commission survives fierce MP scrutiny

Sketch: The Charity Commission survives fierce MP scrutiny
News

Sketch: The Charity Commission survives fierce MP scrutiny

Governance | Vibeka Mair | 11 Dec 2009

The Charity Commission faced "quango queen" jibes, public benefit and the usual scrutiny on spending at its annual fine-tooth-combing from the Public Accounts Select Committee.

It started off fairly civil – the Commission defended its charity compliance record, warned that further funding cuts would adversely affect its provision of free advice for charities and admitted that having four offices across the country didn’t make sense.

"Have you ever had a proper job?"

But the real wrath, clearly directed at Charity Commission Chair Dame Suzi Leather, came from Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger:

“Is anyone on the Charity Commission board from industry?” he boomed at Dame Suzi and Commission chief executive, Andrew Hind. “The board is full of quango queens, like you. Two are from the BBC, one an NHS Trust. You only have four lawyers. On reading the ‘obituaries’ of your board members I found no one from business.” 

Dame Suzi Leather stood her ground: “One-third of the board had a non-public sector background,” she asserted.

“Why is there no-one on the board from Shell?” demanded Liddell-Grainger.

“I don’t appoint the board,” responded Leather.

“Well is it a good idea?”

“I am delighted with the board I have,” said Leather.

“Have you ever had a proper job?”  Liddell-Grainger snidely retorted.

Chairman of the committee Tony Wright rightly stepped in and admonished Liddell-Grainger, as Hind leapt to Leather’s defence:

“I’d appreciate some elements of formality,” he said.

The session continued with the usual rehashing of public benefit and MPs' individual concerns about charities in their constituencies.

Commission guidance on political campaigning

The Charity Commission announced it would publish guidance on political campaigning before next year’s general election and promised to check why Eton and Winchester College were exempt charities after Labour MP Paul Flynn asked whether old Etonians in the Cabinet had some influence.

It all ended with an attack on the Daily Mail and a heartfelt apology from chairman Tony Wright for the “vigorous session”.

“It was a vigorous session,” he told the witnesses, “but it’s what you expect. Ian (Liddell-Grainger) was extremely unpleasant and very personal. You understand he’s a public school boy. He wants favourable reference in the Daily Mail.

“The Daily Mail specialises in attacking in the most offensive way. That’s what they are paid to do. They get a perverse pleasure in attacking people who can’t answer back.

“We value your meeting with us, the way you account to us and we wish you well.”

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Charity shops 'more popular than eBay', according to survey

27 Feb 2015

A survey conducted by nfpSynergy has found that Britons prefer to shop at charity shops rather than using...

Charities Property Fund reports £100m of transactions last December

26 Feb 2015

The Charities Property Fund has grown to £865m after reporting £100m of new transactions in December...

New regulations will help charities win contracts but do not go far enough, report claims

26 Feb 2015

New public contract regulations which come into force today will help charities win government contracts...

Diabetes UK raises £18.6m through Tesco partnership

27 Feb 2015

Tesco employees, suppliers and customers raised over £18m for Diabetes UK between March 2013 and December...

Coffee mornings top list of most popular fundraising events, report shows

26 Feb 2015

Coffee mornings are the most popular ways for supporters to raise money for charity, according to new...

Foundations discuss creating grants map of the UK

26 Feb 2015

Some of the sector’s largest foundations are discussing creating a map of all charitable grant funding...

Daniel Phelan dies, aged 58

13 Feb 2015

Daniel Phelan, owner and editor-in-chief of Civil Society Media, passed away on Wednesday following a...

LinkedIn launches matching service to bring charity volunteering opportunities to 250,000 members

6 Feb 2015

Charities in the UK will be able to advertise volunteer opportunities to 250,000 LinkedIn members who...

Free guide to Bitcoin donations produced for charities

5 Feb 2015

Two Bitcoin organisations have launched a website and free guide to promote the use of the digital currency...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<