- This article was corrected on 11 April 2018; see final paragraph
More than two-thirds of the biggest charity brands do not reveal their highest earners’ names and exact salaries in their annual accounts, going against advice from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, research conducted by Third Sector shows.
The research found that the accounts of only 47 of the 157 charities analysed revealed the salaries and identified the highest earners at the charities.
Third Sector examined the accounts of 157 charities that made up its Charity Brand Index of the most prominent charities in the sector.
The accounts that feature in the research were the most recent ones published by each charity on either Companies House, the Charity Commission website or on their own websites before a cut-off point of 1 December.
Charities are under no legal obligation to reveal the identities of their highest earners, but it is considered best practice by the NCVO to do so.
In 2014, the umbrella body published the report of its inquiry into charity senior executive pay, in which it called for charities to publish the precise remuneration, job titles and names of their highest-paid individuals.
The NCVO said there should also be a statement from the board explaining why the stated salary was chosen and a "two-clicks-to-clarity" policy whereby salary information was two clicks away from a charity’s home page.
Commenting today on Third Sector’s pay transparency research, Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said publishing salary data was an opportunity for charities to talk to the public about the impact they have.
"The public have always been intensely interested in how their money is spent," he said. "They want to know that their support translates into action.
"Charities should be transparent about senior pay, setting out how their trustees reached their decision about what to pay and why. Any charity should be able to demonstrate clearly not only how they spend the money they receive, but also what value that brings."
Third Sector’s research also found that the average salary for the highest earners across the 157 charities was £125,403 a year when calculated using the mean and £125,001 using the median.
Where charities identified the top earner’s salary only as being within a £10,000 band above £60,000 a year, we used the mid-point in that band to calculate the average wage.
Last year’s Third Sector charity pay study showed that the top 100 highest-paying charities paid a mean of £255,000 in 2017, a £40,000 increase on the previous study in 2015.
- The story originally said the British Red Cross did not name its highest earners when in fact it has a section in its annual report that sets out the salary paid to each member of its executive leadership team.