Third sector leaders are "totally creaking" under the weight of expectation and responsibility, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Civil Society and Volunteering heard yesterday.
Sara Llewellin, chief executive of the grant-maker the Barrow Cadbury Trust, told the group that her work brought her into frequent contact with chief executives of charities. She said more needed to be done to protect leaders who were facing difficult circumstances because of cuts in funding and rising demand for services.
Llewellin asked what work the Office of Civil Society was doing to protect leaders in these circumstances. "The leaders of third sector organisations are totally creaking under the weight of more expectation, more need and fewer resources," she told Third Sector after the meeting.
"They are having to sack people, which makes their jobs harder. And they are becoming less popular in their own organisations because of the difficult decisions they are having to make.
"They are being asked to do more than they can manage."
Llewellin told the meeting that the sector was facing an increase in the number of "zombie charities", which would eventually die off because they could not afford their pension liabilities.
"These are charities that exist only in order to continue to pay for their pensions," she said.