“First, let me pay tribute to the extraordinary work charities do in Britain. We have 165,000 charities in England and Wales working to: improve our health, education and the environment; care for animals; support the arts or provide international aid. But they all strive to make our world a better place. Equally remarkable is the generosity of British people as donors and volunteers. 850,000 trustee positions are filled helping govern a sector worth nearly £71bn.”
As she prepares to leave the Charity Commission, the outgoing Chief Executive Paula Sussex spoke at the annual dinner of the Institute of Chartered Accountants England & Wales’s (ICAEW) and those words were the opening paragraph of her speech. Over a number of years I have read the speeches from various events, primarily those involving the Chairman of the Commission and none that I recall began speaking so plainly or indeed so honestly about the work of the charities in the UK and those who support them. Hats off to Ms Sussex, if only William Shawcross, the Chair was paying attention! Bearing in mind that Paul and William are both due to leave the Commission within the next 12 months let us hope those who get to select their successors are influenced by this sort of straight, supportive speaking.