Matthew Steeples argues the case for scrapping the Charity Commission
The Charity Commission recently appointed a new chairman, William Shawcross CVO. The author and journalist is to be paid an astonishing £50,000 for just two days work a week and even he himself admits he’s taken on a “a poisoned chalice”.
My own experience of this toothless quango came when I complained to it about a “charity” run a woman once described by The Telegraph as “Chanel-clad”. Though this organisation was publicly condemned in relation to the pay of this particular executive by several respected individuals including Janet Street-Porter, the Charity Commission’s attitude was astonishing. Their response was simply to answer: “Complain to the trustees”. The Charity Commission, it seems, chooses to ignore complaints and prefers to protect charities and their trustees.
Frankly, that lackadaisical attitude summed up exactly why I believe this quango should be scrapped but now that Mr Shawcross has decided that the Commission should focus on fighting terrorism and the “politicisation of charities” my thoughts are redoubled.
Janet Street-Porter once argued that “the giving sector is a mess”. In fact, it’s an almighty mess. Many readers will, for example, be horrified to learn that the highest paid member of staff at the Royal Opera House, a registered charity, is paid some £714,000 a year. That the Charity Commission has not taken the decision to criticise this wasteful use of gifted money about says it all.
The Charity Commission, just as was the case with the Press Complaints Commission, is a dying dog. Let’s just put it down.