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Monday, 7 February 2011

Scratch and sniff

Cuts are "destroying" volunteering and undermining the government's "big society" vision, according to Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, who is retiring from the Community Service Volunteers (CSV), and much trumpeted by the ever-so un-independent BBC.

What the BBC forgot to tell us is that this apparent worthy is a former Labour councillor from Islington, a big government type who is the exact anti-thesis of the locally based Big Society (silly name, good idea).

But who is Dame Elizabeth and what is her charity, from which she has drawing a salary not just for the last 36 years as head, but for the last 47 years in total?

The CSV accounts for 2010 show that of £28m income, £22m came from central and local government, with the rest coming from investments and private donations (and a large part of the latter coming from the Big Lottery Fund) so not really a charity at all but a government quango that takes donations from the public.


But look further at Note 4 to the accounts and we find £18m of their income was spent on staff salaries and somebody at the organisation (we presume the executive director but we can't tell because she is not a trustee i.e. real director)  was trousering between £120 and £130k a year for their trouble, which puts a new perspective on the word "volunteering".

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