Public trust in charities is at its lowest since 2007 with just half of people saying that they trust not-for-profit groups, according to a survey by the research consultancy nfpSynergy.
The findings reveal a 3 per cent drop in trust over the past year - placing charities eighth in a list of Britain’s most trusted institutions, behind the police, Scouts and Guides and small businesses. Last year charities came in at seventh place.
The Armed Forced are top in the list of most trusted institutions - 77 per cent of people trust them "a great deal" or "quite a lot" - followed closely by the NHS, schools and the Royal Mail.
By comparison, just 53 per cent of people now trust charities to the same degree, down 13 per cent since 2013.
A third of people – or 29 per cent - said they have “not much” trust in charities, while one in ten trust them “very little”.
But the level of trust varies across the country – with England and Wales achieving a 52 per cent trust rate, rising to 62 per cent in Scotland and 69 per cent in Northern Ireland.
The survey was conducted before recent high-profile scandals including the collapse of Kids Company and the death of Olive Cooke.
Joe Saxton of nfpSynergy said the survey revealed “sobering figures for all of those who work in the sector - not least those who say ‘Crisis, what crisis?’”.
“Worse still they were researched just before much of the recent high-profile press coverage of the sector,” he said.
“The research does emphasise that we can take nothing for granted about people’s trust in the sector. All parts of the sector most work continuously to build trust in charities and to explain our work.
"We have to listen to what the public and donors tell us what annoys or concerns them about charities, which will probably reduce their levels of trust. We can’t just tell the public how modern charities are, we also have to listen to how they would like them to be,” he said.
The consultancy questioned 1,000 UK-based people for the survey. NfpSynergy now plans to carry out extra research to "gauge the impact of all the recent media exposure".