Charity Commission spent £4.5k on briefing by PR firm

Consultants prepared chair Dame Suzi Leather and others for Public Administration Select Committee appearance

The Charity Commission paid nearly £4,500 to a public relations company to train senior personnel to appear before MPs in 2008, a parliamentary question has revealed.

In response to a query from shadow third sector minister Nick Hurd last week, commission chief executive Andrew Hind said the payment was made to Mandate Communications in September 2008 to help witnesses prepare for the commission's annual appearance in front of the Public Administration Select Committee the following month.

A commission spokeswoman said the witnesses were commission chair Dame Suzi Leather, Hind, director of policy and effectiveness Rosie Chapman and director of legal services Kenneth Dibble. She said the training consisted mainly of a specialist briefing about the committee, its members and issues previously discussed by it.

Hurd told Third Sector: "I don't think the Charity Commission should be spending taxpayers' money on helping them do a better job of explaining how they are spending taxpayers' money."

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