It didn’t take me long in this job to realise one thing I was likely not to hear much of was praise for the Charity Commission. So I sat up and listened when last week, a number of sector bodies came to the defence of their regulator.
In the wake of another public humiliation for the commission, this time from the Public Accounts Committee, Charity Finance Group chief Caron Bradshaw said she was worried the report could damage the sector’s reputation and prompt a knee-jerk reaction from the commission.
Among other commentators were NCVO head Sir Stuart Etherington suggesting the commission was going “in the right direction”, and DSC director Jay Kennedy, saying its woes are “not its fault”, but rather the “utter failure of the government” to fund and support it properly. Frankly I expect better from the PAC,” he said.
It goes without saying it – but I’ll say it anyway – that publicly-funded bodies should be scrutinised closely, honestly and, well, publicly. But is this not getting a bit boring? And more importantly, the basic facts established, is it really useful to keep demoralising both the sector, and the commission’s staff?
It is worth remembering that critics of the PAC have suggested its approach and members are more interested in publicity than accountability
As we note on the index page of this week’s edition of the magazine, the end of last week’s Public Administration Select Committee session saw chair Bernard Jenkin MP telling the regulator’s chairman William Shawcross: “Take our best wishes back to all the staff at the Charity Commission. We know that this has been an extremely difficult time.”
As a sector, would you like to see others follow Jenkin’s lead and, like the parents of an errant child, decide to abandon the tough love, and give the commission a cuddle?
Let us know in the comments below.