Letter: Charities pay a high price for professionals

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The Independent Online
Sir: In his article about the Salvation Army's loss of more than pounds 6m ('Salvation Army acts against four top officers over missing millions', 9 April), Steve Boggan suggests (by connecting competence with salaries) that this was partly due to the fact that the funds were being administered by persons who have no more than a limited grasp on financial matters.

The article highlights a problem that charities are faced with daily, namely that of how much of their budget to spend on administration.

Employing professionals is a costly business, and fees quickly mount up. When it comes to deciding whether to pay an outside professional for an hour's work or an in-house care worker for a week's work, most charities would choose the latter.

Many charities already have to buy-in some professional support services, and they could very easily surround themselves with even more highly salaried experts, but at what price? The general public would soon notice an array of Jaguars and BMWs and would start asking questions.

There will always be instances where charities have to pay for outside agencies to act on their behalf, but the extent to which this occurs is a matter for each charity to decide in accordance with their constitution.

In the case of the Salvation Army, one wonders whether the use of outside professionals would have helped. After all, we have seen some spectacular City frauds.

Yours sincerely,




9 April