Sir Roger Singleton appointed chair of sector independence panel

Former Barnardo's chief executive says charities face 'real and present risks' to their independence

Sir Roger Singleton
Sir Roger Singleton

Sir Roger Singleton, a former chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo’s and the current chair of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, has been appointed chair of the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector.

The panel is an independent group of charity leaders, academics and other experts on the sector who will produce five reports over five years on the independence of voluntary organisations. It is being funded by the Baring Foundation.

Singleton, who ran Barnardo’s for 21 years until December 2005, replaces Dame Anne Owers, chair of Christian Aid and a former chief inspector of prisons, who stood down after being appointed chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission but remains a member of the panel.

Singleton said in a statement that charities faced "real and present risks" to their independence.

"At a time of austerity, there is a danger that independence is overlooked in the battle for survival, even though that is when it is needed most," he said. "The panel’s first report identified real and present risks to independence of purpose, voice and action.

"Over this year, we will be reviewing the latest evidence, as well as hearing first-hand from those affected, and I very much hope we will see some signs of improvement by the time of our second report in early 2012."

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