NGO staff 'should reveal expenses'

A minority treat trips abroad as perks, says auditor

Managers of development charities should publish their expenses to prevent abuse by a minority who treat trips abroad as perks, according to a charity consultant with 26 years of auditing experience.

Suresh Lalvani told Third Sector that his audits of NGO programmes in 30 countries had uncovered examples of expatriate staff claiming expenses for things like trips to safari parks.

Some NGO staff, he said, had travelled to attend three-day conferences in developing countries only to disappear after the first morning.

Wider internal auditing had cut down abuse, but it was time for NGOs to accept greater scrutiny and publish details of managers' spending, he said.

Nick Roseveare, chief executive of NGO membership body Bond, said there was little to be gained from charity chiefs being forced to reveal every detail of their expenses.

He said: "This would not only suggest that there has been active resistance to openness in the past - which there has not - but also place a heavy administrative burden on many organisations."

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