IMPACT calls for Government action on top pay irregularities in charity sector

Union warns reputational damage putting services at risk

IMPACT has today (Thursday) warned that continuing revelations of irregular pay arrangements for top managers in charities and voluntary organisations will put funding, jobs and vital services at risk unless the Government acts. The union, which represents staff in the sector, was responding to the latest media reports of controversial payments and irregular payroll arrangements in St John of Gods.

IMPACT official Ian McDonnell said hard-working and modestly-paid staff in St John of Gods and other charities and voluntary bodies were concerned that long-term reputational damage was being done to the sector, which plays a unique and irreplaceable role in public service delivery.

Mr McDonnell said: “Staff in the charity and voluntary sector have worked tirelessly to maintain services as budgets, wages and staffing was cut, time and again, throughout the recession. They are appalled at the recent revelations about senior managers in certain organisations, including Saint John of Gods where top managers appear to have benefited from huge pension injections and a shady two-tiered payroll system.

He said there was a danger that ordinary, dedicated staff would be tarred with the same brush. “The Government needs to send a clear message that most charity and voluntary sector staff – including most managers – are honest people, committed to the services they provide. The relevant Government departments must act quickly to stamp out unjustified and irregular payments to senior managers. They also need to give public assurances that State support for the sector will continue so that essential services continue to be funded and delivered,” he said.

Speaking specifically on the situation in Saint John of Gods, Mr McDonnell said: “Revelations that senior figures at St John of God’s received top up payments outside of the normal public sector pay model are particularly galling for IMPACT members who experienced a consistent management policy of reducing full-time staff hours in some areas over recent years. These include residential services at Carmona and fixed locations like as St Raphael’s Celbridge. This has stretched staff and services to breaking point at a time when funds were apparently available for senior management top ups.”