Charity Commission spends £450 per public attendee at open board meetings

Turnout at the commission's open board meetings has been poor, with one meeting attracting no attendees at all, Third Sector has learnt

Money spent on public meetings
Money spent on public meetings

The Charity Commission has spent more than £22,000 in the past two years hosting open board meetings with a median attendance of 3.5 members of the public.

The highest turnout was in January this year in Llandudno, north Wales, with 17 people, and the lowest last month in Liverpool, when nobody turned up at all.

The six meetings since December 2009 – including three in London and one in Taunton, Somerset – cost £11,657.98; five the previous year cost £11,200.

The bills cover travel and accommodation for board members and staff, and room hire. Public attendance across the two years totalled 51, with figures for one meeting unavailable.

The meetings were started in 2004 under the former commission chair, Geraldine Peacock, as part of the commission's plan to become more open and accountable.

Peacock, who left the post in 2006, told Third Sector that about 60 people attended the first session. "To be interesting, you have got to have a good agenda and things people would like to talk about that are meaningful to them," she said. "I think the content probably isn't there."

A commission spokeswoman said it was considering the future of open board meetings, including their frequency and location, but its priority was "to remain transparent, open and accountable".

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