Charity Commission chief accused of hypocrisy on pay: Eton College salaries outstrip those in the international aid sector
(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) William Shawcross, the Old Etonian head of the Charity Commission, has been accused of hypocrisy over his attacks on high executive pay among development charities, after it emerged that Britain's public schools pay some of the biggest salaries in the charitable sector.
Shawcross caused widespread anger when he claimed that some high salaries risked bringing the sector "into disrepute". His remarks were in response to a report into the remuneration levels at 14 charities on the Disasters Emergency Committee. Justin Forsyth, a former Labour adviser, was found to have been paid pounds 163,000 as chief executive of Save the Children, while the British Red Cross's chief executive, Sir Nick Young, took home pounds 184,000 last year.
It has emerged that the salaries paid to staff working within some independent schools, which also have tax-exempt charitable status, dwarf the remuneration packages at development charities.
Accounts for Eton College, where Shawcross was educated, show that it pays 40 staff more than pounds 100,000 a year, including seven between pounds 120,000 and pounds 129,000, and its head between pounds 230,000 and pounds 239,000, although all the charity accounts figures include pension and national insurance contributions. The bursar for Eton said that its head, Tony Little, has a basic salary of pounds 179,375.
An analysis of the accounts of other independent schools shows that at Harrow school seven members of staff earn more than pounds 100,000, including one who earns between pounds 190,001 and pounds 200,000. At Westminster School, the alma mater of deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, 41 members of staff earn more than pounds 60,000 and one is on pounds 140,150. At St Paul's school, three members of staff are paid more than pounds 100,000 and one earns between pounds 200,000 and pounds 209,000.
Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo), said he believed that Shawcross had specifically targeted his criticism at development charities, a claim denied by the commission.
He said: "It is curious that [Shawcross] singled out international development charities over pay. If charities like the great universities and top public schools believe they need to pay good salaries to attract the best talent, then why does the same principle not apply to the aid charities, albeit their pay is more modest?
"Mr Shawcross, by choosing to target his comments in this way, risks aligning the Charity Commission with a political campaign on foreign aid. That is what will bring the charity world into disrepute rather than what aid charities pay to recruit the best leaders."
A commission spokesman said: "The comment made was a general comment about charities. He did make it clear that it is not for the commission to tell charities how much they should pay executives. That is a matter for their trustees.
"Following the media coverage last week, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations on Monday announced they were intending to work on an advisory code for charity trustees when setting senior staff salaries, and we have welcomed this initiative."
Eton, where William Shawcross, above, was educated, pays 40 of the staff more than pounds 100,000 a year. Photograph by Frank Baron
(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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