A group of members from the NCT have written to William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission, to say they are “surprised and disappointed” with the appointment of the regulator’s new chief executive, Helen Stephenson.
Stephenson was chair of childbirth charity NCT from September 2015 until recently. She was announced as the incoming chief executive of the Charity Commission last week, taking over from current chief executive Paula Sussex.
The letter concerns the forced resignation of two trustees, which took place before an inquest into the death of a seven-week-old baby in a cot which had been given the NCT-branding. It states that the two other trustees made the decision to follow PR advice and ask a number of trustees to resign, without full board knowledge.
The letter from NCT members, whose names and number were not given, said: “We are disappointed that Helen Stephenson has left NCT’s board in this position and her appointment to the Charity Commission gives us concern about the implications for the sector.”
The letter says that the members have some concerns over how Stephenson handled the board in her role as chair, and says that the charity did not follow regulatory advice given to it from the Charity Commission.
However, the Charity Commission has emphasised that no further regulatory action was required.
A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “Following the departure of two trustees, the Commission has engaged with the charity and given advice and guidance to the charity, and other parties involved, regarding an ongoing internal dispute. No further regulatory action has been required and we have urged all parties to work together constructively to resolve any disagreements in the charity’s best interest.”
Nick Wilkie, chief executive of NCT, said: “We know that some NCT members disagree with actions taken by the board in recent months and we are working hard to engage with them, including a series of events across the UK, and seeking feedback from all of our members on an independent governance review, commissioned to strengthen NCT for the future.”
Her appointment has been welcomed by much of the charity sector.