... in my 20-year odyssey through the sector ...I've realised that the real charity world has its own dirty secret, one that the public rarely glimpses. It is that a significant minority of charities are run as personal fiefdoms of overbearing chief executives or chairs.
Happily, I have landed in a charity where good practice reigns, but I have come across some benighted ones too - enough to make me think that the sector is littered with the broken pieces of good people crushed by their charity's malfeasance.
Other sectors have their governance horror stories too, but the power given to trustees in charity law is substantial, and abuses can follow; and if there is a power vacuum on the board - and we have all known trustees with a scarily laissez-faire approach to their duties - it can be filled by a chief executive taking an unchecked hold on the organisation.
Whenever I read about whistle-blowers seeking help from the Charity Commission's well-meaning compliance unit, I often groan at the long timescales and the weakness of some of the sanctions deployed.
One day there might be a case of a misbehaving charity that captures the public appetite for stories of corporate malpractice or greed. When that time comes, it could tarnish the reputation of the majority of us who strive to do right for a good cause. Our secret will be out, and it may indeed rock our sector to the very fabric of its being. In time, it might lead to a clean-up, to more resources for the commission's compliance unit and less aversion to the strongest sanctions. Until then, things might need to get worse before they get better." (Emphasis added)
Friends, at JFNA, unknown to Mr. Edwards, things cannot get much worse.