Sam Younger has been accused of talking "technocratic nonsense" about grants and contracts in his first speech this week as Charity Commission chief executive.
At a conference in London, Younger said charities wanting to capitalise on the voluntary sector’s rise up the political agenda had to "move from a grant mentality - the expectation that they will be supported because their heart is in the right place - to a contract mentality".
Kevin Curley, chief executive of local infrastructure support group Navca, a strong defender of grants, has written to Younger asking him to explain his comments.
"This is technocratic nonsense," said Curley in a statement. "Younger’s reference to ‘grant mentality’ is out of step with mainstream thinking.
"All major political parties recognise the value of grant funding and support it as a cost-effective means of getting money to where it’s most needed locally.
"This is deeply disappointing at a time when local authority grant funding budgets are under threat."