NEWS IN FOCUS: HOT ISSUE - Should charities pay their trustees?

KEN BURNETT, chairman of Action Aid

NO - The tradition of volunteerism is one of the greatest things about the sector. Before you consider paying trustees it's important to think about all the other things that make the position attractive. It's amazing how people respond positively to committing themselves to a cause where they see they're making a difference. If a charity is clear about its expectations then being trustee is a very rewarding job and I can't envisage a situation where it would be advantageous to pay people money to take on this role.

PADDY FITZGERALD, author of the RSA report on corporate governance

YES - If you want to boost the performance of charity bodies you need to access new skills provided primarily by younger people. While they want to help, many cannot or will not provide the time required for trustee work which is on average over three times that required in commercial organisations. Paying trustees would make a difference to both younger people and the self-employed. We need to get their sense of pace and energy through to boards to make them function faster.

TESSE AKPEKI, head of the trustee and governance team at NCVO

NO - If you have bad trustees, paying them will not make them good. With regard to recruitment, there are more effective ways of addressing this than through payment. Better recruitment methods and induction, plus an ongoing programme of support are more important. Once you appoint trustees, the crucial issue is making them feel valued. So as a blanket response I would say no to payment. I believe in the no-benefit rule, that trustees should not benefit from their trust.

ANDREW BROWN, former chairman of BTCV, deputy chair of Charity Trustee Networks

YES - Although I broadly support the voluntary principle of charity trusteeship, the Charity Commission needs to take a more flexible approach to this issue. The principle is fine in theory but often doesn't work in practice. This is especially true when applied to smaller charities who don't have the widespread appeal to pull in quality trustees. Most charities support the broad principle of voluntary trustees but big service charities have to run as a business.

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