Charity Chief in UK Accused of Classism in his Attack of NGO Exec Salaries

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August 18, 2013; The Guardian


In the UK, “public schools” refer to independent schools that have tax-exempt status. According to Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo), they might have been a better target of concern regarding salaries than organizations providing foreign aid. William Shawcross, head of the Charity Commission, is a graduate of one such school and now is being accused of hypocrisy in calling out the salaries of aid organizations rather than the schools. To show the contrast, Justin Forsyth was paid £163,000 as chief executive of Save the Children, and the British Red Cross’s chief executive, Sir Nick Young, took home £184,000 last year, but the head of Eton College, Shawcross’ alma mater, receives between £230,000 and £239,000, although all the charity accounts figures include pension and national insurance contributions. The bursar for Eton said that its head, Tony Little, has a basic salary of £179,375.

At St Paul’s school, three members of staff have a payment package worth more than £100,000 and one earns between £200,000 and £209,000.

Bubb said: “It is curious that the chair of the Charity Commission singled out international development charities over pay. If charities like the great universities and top public schools believe they need to pay good salaries to attract the best talent, then why does the same principle not apply to the aid charities, albeit their pay is more modest?”

The National Council of Voluntary Organisations has announced they will work on an advisory code for charity trustees when setting senior staff salaries.—Ruth McCambridge