The landmine clearance charity the Halo Trust is using donated money to pay boarding school fees for its chief executive’s children, it has been revealed.
Guy Willoughby, the charity’s chief executive and founder, received a salary package of between £210,000 and £220,000 in the year to March 2013, its accounts show.
The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported this included the cost of sending three of his children to boarding schools.
The paper said that his son attends Oundle School in Northamptonshire, which charges £30,705 a year for boarders, and two of his daughters attend Queen Margaret’s School in York, which charges £27,825. His oldest child’s fees were also paid for by the charity before she went to university.
The charity, which had a voluntary income of £26.4m in 2012/13, defended its decision to pay school fees and said that Willoughby often had to travel abroad for work. He spent 60 to 70 per cent of last year working overseas, the charity said.
A statement from the charity’s board of trustees said: "Halo’s beneficiaries and staff deserve and require a highly competent and professional management team, and the board has taken the necessary steps to recruit and retain one. The charity has had to remain competitive alongside our counterparts, such as the UN, Army and the Foreign Office.
"As a result, we introduced a school fees scheme for senior staff with more than seven years’ service, and children from the age of 10 to 18 are eligible. A percentage of their salary is put towards the part-payment of their children’s education – this is a taxable benefit."
The trustees believe that Willoughby’s remuneration package reflects "the complexity and responsibility of his role, pay in comparable jobs, entitlements of subordinate staff, the amount of time he is expected to spend abroad and the value he provides in driving the efficiency and productivity of the charity to the benefit of mine-impacted communities.
"An ancillary benefit of the school fees scheme is that, as children come out of the education system, eligible senior staff’s salary will reduce accordingly and therefore it is a more efficient approach in the longer term for the organisation," the trustees’ statement said.
The charity, which has about 40 employees, excluding local "deminers" and support staff, paid 12 employees more than £60,000 in 2012/13, the accounts show. About 4,800 local staff were employed by the charity over the same period.