CHRISTIAN aid agencies have defended the salaries paid to senior
executives after the chairman of the Charity Commission, William
Shawcross, said that they risked bringing the charitable sector
On Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph published
research suggesting that the number of executives at 14 of the UK's
aid charities who receive six-figure salaries had risen over the
past three years from 19 to 30. This represented a rise of nearly
60 per cent. Christian Aid was among the charities listed: its
chief executive, Loretta Minghella (above), is paid more
than £120,000 a year.
The Telegraph also listed several Christian aid
agencies whose chief executives' salaries approach six figures,
including: World Vision, whose chief executive, Justin Byworth, is
paid just over £95,000 a year; Tearfund, whose chief executive,
Matthew Frost, receives £92,000 a year (taking into account
pension); and CAFOD, whose chief executive, Chris Bain, is paid
£87,567 a year.
Mr Shawcross told The Daily Telegraph on
Tuesday that, in these difficult economic times, trustees "should
consider whether very high salaries are really appropriate, and
fair to both the donors and the taxpayers who fund charities.
Disproportionate salaries risk bringing organisations and the wider
charitable world into disrepute."
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Christian Aid said that Ms
Minghella received £126,206 p.a., and would be paid the same in
2013-14. Seeking to reassure those concerned that it was "too much
to pay someone working in the charity sector", the statement said
Christian Aid needed "the best people possible to lead what is a
large and complex organisation", and that Ms Minghella, previously
chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme,
"brings with her a huge amount of expertise, experience, and
passion for the cause".
The statement cited a survey of UK charities, published in March
by Third Sector magazine, which suggested that Christian
Aid was "significantly under the sector average for top executive
pay". The survey suggested that, among religious charities, the
median pay of the top earners was £186,000-£193,000.
A spokesman for World Vision UK said on Tuesday: "Our charity
has a budget of nearly £70 million a year, managing hundreds of
development projects in dozens of countries, with nearly 200,000
supporters. Like any large charitable organisation, we need to
attract the right person with the right skills and experience."
The chief executive of Tearfund, Matthew Frost, said on Tuesday
that his salary was equivalent to that of senior staff in other
organisations in that sector. "We will continue to pay market
salary rates for these posts, so that we're able to recruit the
skills we need." CAFOD said in a statement on Tuesday that none of
its staff earned more than £100,000 a year, and that only six
people earned more than £60,000 a year.
Sir Stephen Bubb, CEO of the Association of Chief Executives of
Voluntary Organisations, told BBC Radio 4's Today
programme on Tuesday that executive pay "simply isn't an issue for
They were "more concerned about the outcomes, the performance,
and the efficiency of these organisations. To keep talent, really
strong people, at the top of these organisations, they need to be
These were still not excessive salaries when compared with the
public and private sectors.
Question of the Week: Are aid agencies' top salaries too