Top salaries down six per cent | Committee approves draft bill to extend regulator's powers | Charity director resigns after sex assault conviction

Plus: IoF plans to apply for royal charter | Steadfast Trust to appeal charity register removal | Cabinet Office awarded £100,000 for two charity mergers that never happened

The average salary of the top earners in some of the biggest and best-known charities in the UK has fallen by 6 per cent over the past two years, according to research by Third Sector. The research shows that the median salary for each top earner among general charities such as Save the Children, Cancer Research UK and the British Red Cross was £145,000, compared with £155,000 in 2013.

The Joint Committee on the Draft Protection of Charities Bill has given broad approval to extending the powers of the Charity Commission in its report on the draft legislation. The bill proposes giving the commission a range of extra powers including the ability to disqualify people it considers unfit from being charity trustees, to order the closure of charities and to issue statutory warnings to individual charities.

Patrick Sookhdeo has resigned from his roles as international director and trustee at the poverty relief charity Barnabas Aid International, after he was found guilty of sexual assault and witness intimidation. He was given three community sentences of three months each, and a statement from the board of trustees at the poverty charity said they would review his resignation from the board after three months.

The Institute of Fundraising is planning to apply to the Privy Council for a royal charter, a distinction granted to professional institutions or charities that can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their fields. Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, confirmed at the Charity Finance Group’s Risk Conference in London that the body was "on the journey to chartered status".

The Steadfast Trust has said that plans to appeal to the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission’s "biased" decision to remove it from the register of charities, the trust’s solicitor has said. The organisation – which describes itself as benefiting "indigenous" English people – was removed from the register earlier this month after covert footage from an ITV Exposure documentary about extremism was shared with the regulator.

The Cabinet Office gave out grants totalling almost £100,000 to support two voluntary sector mergers that never happened, official figures show. The Government Grants Register for 2013/14, published in January, shows that the department gave £75,000 to the local infrastructure body Navca for a merger with the BME representative body Voice4Change England and £20,000 to the Institute of Fundraising to explore a merger with the Institute of Legacy Management; neither of which went ahead.

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