Fourteen of the UK's top 100 charities by income pay their trustees, report reveals

The study by the accountancy firm Grant Thornton says that 80 per cent of the charities reimburse trustees' expenses

Where trustees are paid, rates vary greatly
Where trustees are paid, rates vary greatly

Fourteen of the UK’s top 100 charities by income pay their trustees, according to a new report.

A study published by the accountancy firm Grant Thornton, called The Science of Good Governance – Towards Charity Best Practice, says that the average payment was £10,180 a year among those organisations. 

The report is based on the latest financial statements of the top 100 charities, by income, filed by summer 2012. The range of financial year-ends means the financial statements reviewed range from 31 December 2010 to 31 March 2012.

The report says that pay rates varied greatly and some trustees were paid more than £50,000 a year.

Third Sector reported last year that Sir William Castell, chair of the giant scientific and medical research charity the Wellcome Trust, was paid £137,290 in 2011.

The report also says that 80 per cent of the charities examined reimbursed their trustees’ expenses. The average amount claimed by a trustee was £2,858, although most trustees were paid less than £200 for expenses. The report says that most of these expenses related to travel.

The report warns that by not making claiming for expenses the norm among trustees, charities are limiting the diversity of their boards by putting off people who cannot afford "to forgo out-of-pocket expenses".

On board diversity, the report says that the top 100 charities had, on average, a higher proportion of women on their boards than FTSE 350 companies.

The average charity board had 13 trustees, four of whom were women, the report says. Seventy-five of the chairs of top 100 charity boards were male and 14 female, it says. The gender of the remaining 11 was unclear.

The report says that 81 per cent of charities gave "a good level of disclosure" in their annual reports of the key risks they faced, but 44 per cent did not mention a risk register. "This lack of disclosure does not mean that charities are not using and updating their risk register," the report says. "However, a more explicit statement would aid understanding."

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