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A quarter of chief executives 'could envisage paying trustees within five years'

By Tim Tonkin, Third Sector Online, 24 September 2012

Sir Stephen Bubb

Sir Stephen Bubb

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, says that Lord Hodgson's recommendation on trustee payment is entirely sensible

About a quarter of charity chief executives can envisage their charities paying their trustees within the next five years, according to an Acevo report.

The chief executives body surveyed 218 member and non-member charity chief executives on some of the recommendations made in Lord Hodgson’s review of the Charities Act 2006, in response to a request for feedback from Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society.

The survey asked: "Lord Hodgson's review of the Charities Act recommended that charities with an income of £1m or more should have the power to pay their trustees. Could you envisage your charity taking such a power up over the next five years?"

A total of 24.8 per cent of respondents answered yes; 74.8 per cent said no. The others did not answer.

However, Acevo’s report on the findings says that many expressed strong reservations.

One said it would damage public trust in charities; another said there would be pressure on all large charities to start paying their trustees, "fundamentally changing the nature of charity board membership".

Sixty-five per cent of respondents agreed that trustees should generally be limited to three three-year terms of service. 

Acevo found that respondents were split almost 50:50 over whether the Charity Commission should charge for registration.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they were against the removal of Gift Aid for charities that filed their accounts late and 84.4 per cent did not want the commission to charge for filing annual returns.

In a letter to Hurd, Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, says that, despite the concerns expressed by many respondents, his view is that Hodgson’s recommendation on the payment of trustees is "entirely sensible" and the government should act on it without delay.

"I do not believe (and I assume the government does not believe) that those charities who do want to pay their trustees have anything other than their beneficiaries’ best interests at heart," he writes.

"Our view is, therefore, that individual charities (rather than the Charity Commission) should have the ultimate power to decide whether they spend their money on trustees."

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