MPs should respect the right and the ability of charity trustees to set the pay levels they think are appropriate, the Institute of Fundraising has said in written evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee.
The IoF was responding to the PASC’s inquiry into charity chief executive pay, launched after media coverage over the summer criticising members of the Disasters Emergency Committee over the pay of their chief executives.
Two members of the committee – Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal, and Priti Patel, Conservative MP for Witham – made critical comments in articles on the topic that appeared in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph newspapers. Elphicke has since left the committee.
The IoF’s written evidence says the government has committed to "respect and uphold the independence of civil society organisations to deliver their mission", in the Compact, the agreement that sets out how public bodies and voluntary sector organisations should relate to each other.
"When commenting on the pay of senior executives in charities, all MPs should respect the right and ability of charity trustees to set pay levels that they deem appropriate, even if they do not agree with them personally," the IoF submission says.
The institute suggests that part of the solution to the issue of charity chief executive pay and the way the media and public respond to it, is for the charity sector to "better and more consistently communicate" with donors so those who give have a greater level of information about how their donation is spent and the impact is having.
The think tank New Philanthropy Capital’s submission says it would like to see more boards talking publicly about the principles on which they base their remuneration decisions.
It says the charity chief executive role is a demanding and often complex one, comparable to leadership roles in other sectors, and therefore they need to be paid competitive salaries.
"Regulating chief executive salaries would not help charities achieve greater impact, and might in fact distract from this goal," NPC’s submission says.
Charity representatives, including Caron Bradshaw, chief executive of the Charity Finance Group, Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of Acevo, and Martyn Lewis, chair of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, will give oral evidence to the committee next week.