JCP's CEO responds to criticism of lack of transparency on charity executives' pay

Charities and transparency

06 Dec 2017

Charities and pay - it was just a matter of time before it hit the headlines here in Jersey. With the advent of charity registration I can understand why this has been made in to a story by the JEP, but the story here is more about the lack of response from the selected charities rather than the level of charity executives’ pay. And who can blame them for not responding? This was always going to be a critical piece.

£80m. That’s what our survey (of more than 500 charities and NPOs) found flowed in to the sector in 2016. Two thirds of these organisations are operating with no paid staff. Not surprisingly then that 34% of the organisations with paid full time staff generated the highest income. A coincidence? Definitely not.

If there is going to be a discussion on charity executive pay, please don’t see it in isolation, consider the impact the organisation is having on our community. Without these experienced professionals with the ability to drive the charity forward and effect even greater positive change, our civil society is on shaky foundations. We demand that charities are run like businesses, we expect that they will get results and yet we’re not prepared to pay them appropriately. It just doesn’t sit right with me and it shouldn’t for any educated donor either.

Yes, charities should be more transparent, not just because we will see the introduction of the charity register next year, but because it is the right thing to do. Donors, just like consumers make a choice about who they support. Part of that decision making should be around whether they feel the charity is spending their donation appropriately. If the information isn’t there the donor is making a less informed decision and will likely give less (if anything).

Transparency will not magically appear overnight so what can we expect from next year’s registration process? Well, for a start, organisations will have to declare high level figures of income and expenditure in banded amounts. Furthermore an organisation wishing to register will have to state whether any payments are made to governors or staff. So once the register is live, and it will be searchable, there will be very clear indications of the levels of income and expenditure for every registered public charity.

Jersey Community Partnership exists to improve the flow of money, time and resources to the third sector in Jersey, supporting charities to be the most effective they can be. We champion effective philanthropy - encouraging greater transparency is part of the conversation.

For the record, JCP’s income this financial year is £50,000 and our expenditure is forecast at £60,000. What am I paid as CEO?… £50,000. Do I think that is appropriate given my 15 years experience in the charity sector and with what the partnership has achieved, and will achieve in the coming years? Yes.

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