Charity chief executives criticised for high salaries

Charity chief executives criticised for high salaries

Charity chief executives criticised for high salaries 10

Governance | Vibeka Mair | 16 Jun 2010

The College of Law, a charity which provides legal education, has defended the £440,000 salary of its chief executive, Nigel Savage, and the £410,000 wage of its deputy chief executive Alan Humphreys, after it was criticised on Roll on Friday, a website for lawyers and in the Sunday Times.

If follows criticism in the Telegraph this month, of the salaries of John Belcher, chief executive of housing charity Anchor, who received £391,000 in 2009 and David Cowans, chief executive of housing charity Places for People who earned £297,000 in the same year.

David Yates, chairman of the College of Law said its governors received independent advice on remuneration and incentive structures from Deloittes and that it was benchmarked against comparable organisations.

He continued: “The rise in remuneration for the chief executive and deputy chief executive last year was due, not to an increase in basic salary which stayed the same as the previous year, but instead to the award of bonuses linked to the achievement of both annual and long-term performance targets.”

The most recent accounts for the College of Law, show Savage received a 40 per cent pay rise in 2009, while the deputy chief executive Alan Humphreys received a 33 per cent pay increase.

Seb Elsworth, director of strategy at Acevo, has warned about the trend of national press coverage on chief executive's salaries in his personal blog this month:

“The obvious question is how long will it be before salaries of other sector chief executives are again making the headlines, and how will we respond when they do?," he said.

"In the still-frenzied media world following the expenses scandals of last year, and the supposed “new politics” of the coalition government, there is a very real risk that the very modest salaries which most third sector CEOs are paid could be conflated yet again with the excesses of the city and alienate many of the public on whose support we depend.”

16 Aug 2013

I give monthly to NSPCC. I have tried to find out how much the CEO is paid but up till now no luck. Can anyone show me the way?

Michael Hodgson
3 Jan 2012

Alan, out of curiosity: for a multi-million pound charity, with the CEO earning £22 p/h (based on being paid for a 39hour week), what would be an appropriate rate for their full time graphic designer? And do you think they'd be able to recruit one with the necessary skills at that rate?

Alan Laird
Graphic Designer
27 Dec 2011

It is of course up to an organisation (and the people who choose to donate) what their CEO is paid. organisation who pays more than, say, about twice the UK average annual salary (about £45k) should lose its charitable status and pay tax on its income, just like any other profit-making business. Would this cause a flood of charity executives to desert for the private sector? I hope so, leaving room for the dedicated and unpaid supporters to come up from the ranks of the charity to replace these money-grubbers.

Stephen Lulsley
3 Jan 2012
Response to [Alan Laird]

In 1989 in business, I earned £30k plus car and a fairly unlimited expense account and with perks close to £40k package. (£84k in today's money apparently) for a middle management role.

On rejoining the sector in 1991, (After 4 years in industry and commerce, I started in the sector originally in 1974 and then had 14 years in industry and commerce) my salary dropped to 24k for a more senior role.

In 2011, I earned £53k with no perks other than a modest poension contribution) as a charity CEO, working more than 60 hours a week.

Satisfied Alan?

Carl Allen
13 Dec 2011

Ah, the personal delights from profit sharing and cost cutting through the guise of compensation packages.

Much more to come as the government's big society agenda is progressing nicely and is on time.

Michael Hodgson
13 Dec 2011

I agree David, if someone chooses to join our sector instead of another, and works their way up to a role which sees them putting in 80hour+ weeks, running a several hundred million pound organisation which is trying to solve some of the biggest problems the country faces, they should know that they deserve to get paid about the same as a new graduate store manager at Lidl.

That way we can make sure everyone understands that if you're smart, talented and want to change the world, go and work in industry, make lots of money and feel better by giving some of it away.

Alistair Heron
14 Dec 2011
Response to [Michael Hodgson]

Very, very well put Michael!

Chris David
12 Dec 2011

I won't be giving one cent to any charity that pays its CE more than 35k pa or one that has an overall disproportionate salary and admin bill.

Stephen Lulsley
Independent Commentator and Consultant
3 Jan 2012
Response to [Chris David]

Oh Chris, if only it were that simple! I suggest that you won't be giving away very much then to charitable causes, if those are your criteria. More often than not, for charitable organisations providing services to needy and often desperate clients here or overseas, it is precisely the salary bill to deliver those services that is the major expense.

Of course as chairman of a business-based private quango (if that's not an oxymoron) assuming that you are the Chris David of the Welsh Development Agency(?), while we who work in the third sector for very little, I am sure that your salary will be more than adequate; dare I say prbably very handsome?

13 Dec 2011
Response to [Chris David]


I'm sorry but you are simply unrealistic. Whilst not a small salary (compared to the national average) £35k is no King's Ransom. CEO's of charities have families and bills to pay and it is only FAIR that they are paid according to responsibility and performance.

****Text removed for breach of community standards****

By way of a compromise, perhaps all charitable organisations should have a (voluntary?) pay cap in line with the pay level of the Prime Minister who manages UK plc with a GDP of £1.5 trillion.

Just a thought


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