Charity chief executive pay has made front page headlines again after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the chief executive of Praxis Care earned £142,000 last year.
The Belfast Telegraph surveyed 60 “well-known” charities in Northern Ireland and found that 34 paid their chief executive, or most-senior representative in Northern Ireland, more than £50,000. A full list is available on the newspaper's website.
A quarter of organisations surveyed by the newspaper would not provide details. They included animal charity the USPCA which said it was in the process of reviewing the chief executive’s contract.
A number of UK-wide charities with operations in Northern Ireland, such as the British Red Cross and Cancer Research UK, said that the salaries of staff in Northern Ireland were below the minimum disclosure threshold.
Nora Smith, chief officer of CO3, an organisation for charity chief executives, defended the sector.
She said: “Charities are the glue that holds our divided society together… Of course the chief executives of those complex, flexible, creative organisations should be paid the rate for the job.”
She added that charity CEOs in Northern Ireland earn less than their counterparts in Britain, even though charities contribute twice as much to GDP in Northern Ireland as they do in Britain.
The umbrella body, Nicva added: “The sector in Northern Ireland has always been open and transparent about the salaries paid to staff. When jobs are advertised, in the Belfast Telegraph and in other papers, the salary is generally openly stated in the job advertisement or the job description. Salary information is also available in the annual accounts of organisations.”
Last month the NCVO pay inquiry, which was set up following national media scrutiny of executive pay, recommended that charities prominently publish details of executive pay on their websites.
Fundraising damaged in Ireland following charity scandal
Meanwhile two thirds of charities in the Republic of Ireland reported that fundraising had been affected by recent charity scandals, with 47 per cent saying fundraising was down by 10 per cent.
The Umbrella body Wheels surveyed almost 300 charities in April, and found two thirds were also attempting to improve transparency, after the government began the process of setting up a regulator.
Earlier this year Ireland announced emergency plans to set up a charity regulator after there was a public outcry over a €742,000 pay-off for Paul Kiely, the chief executive of the Central Remedial Clinic, a national centre for the care, treatment and development of children and adults with physical disabilities. The CRC receives income both from the state and donations. Kiely’s pay-off was equal to almost half the donations received in the year, according to reports in Irish national newspapers.