Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Spoiling Political Scrapbook's Attack on Shaun Bailey

Political Scrapbook appears to be trying to attack My Generation/ a charity run by the Tory PPC for Hammersmith at the next election (A Mr Shaun Bailey).

The scope of their attack appears to be this annual report of the charity.

I assume at the moment, that this will take the form of the Charity receiving £35,110 from Gifts and Donations, with £10,904 spent on Management and Administration, with only £5,740 spent on Direct Charitable expenditure.

I've also had a look at the 2009 accounts which lists the following:

"Incoming resources from generated funds: Voluntary income: £58,572"
"Total Charitable Expenditure: £58,572"

EDIT (13:22 21/4/2010): This was only Restricted Funds, Total Charitable Spending was £116,000

Looks like once the Charity was set up, it got a lot more efficient at spending the donors money on actual Charity works.

I assume PS's attack is based in this very old post.

EDIT: (13:24 21/4/2010): I assume the attack will come through the "high" wages paid by the Charity, totaling £10,904 in 2007 and £52,199 in 2009. It appears this salary is paid to the Chief Operations Officer and the Operations Manager, along with the Part-Time Project Co-ordinator, Administrator and Youth Worker.

Assuming that this is 4.5 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) workers, that works out at less than £15k each, not exactly a high salary for people running a Charity.

For reference, the Salary of the CEO of WWF (another Charity) has salary and benefits of over $250,000.

EDIT: (16:17 21/4/2010) This whole thing was probably kicked off by this article in The Times. Basically, the Charity has donated £15,952 without any records of where it is. The tone of the article suggests it's a case of bad accounting (as you'd expect from a Charity that increases its donations nearly ten-fold in two years), rather than fraud. That article also mentions Joanne Cash in a similar context (she used the word "Charitable" to describe a social action project run and funded by her Conservative Association) but there doesn't seem to be any financial allegations.

EDIT: (10:44 22/4/2010) No sign of anything from Political Scrapbook. Maybe they've realised there's not actually much in the Annual Reports worth reporting on.

EDIT: (16:34 22/4/2010) Looks like Political Scrapbook have finally got around to releasing their attack . As expected they're claiming that the amounts used for administration are far too high. This is principally around the 2008 expenses, when £76,657 was spend on "Administration". Persumably, we're supposed to feel that this is money that has been creamed off into Shaun's pockets.

Well, let's have a look at exactly where that money was spent. This photo was taken directly from this annual report.

Despite their 'subtle' suggestion that Mr Bailey has been creaming money towards himself, it appears that the two biggest parts of the admin spend were "rent" at nearly £23k and salaries at £28k (Assuming this is split between the 3 FTEs identified in the report, they're pulling down a salary of £10k each). This doesn't seem to be gouging to me.

Ah ha! (you might say). But those nice people quoted a professor saying that Charities should only spend 15% of their income on Admin.

Charity Facts also says:

"What is an acceptable figure?
This is a difficult question to answer. The structure of the organisation, the nature of the work it undertakes and it's accounting conventions will all play a role in this. Also, good management typically costs more than poor management, so seeking to reduce costs in this area may ultimately be counter-productive as talented staff move on."

I'm sure also that a Charity pulling in £100k will have much higher overheads as a percentage than one pulling in £100 million.

There is another local Charity, which I have no reason to believe doesn't do sterling work, called The Hammersmith and Fulham Refugee Forum. In 2006 they recieved £83,492 in Grants (and £50 in Donations). They spent £87,099 on Administration (£47,570 on Salaries). (source)

NOTE: This is a work in progress, I'm going to react to Political Scrapbook's attacks as and when they actually happen (or, at the moment, before they do!)

Disclaimer: I don't know Shaun Bailey, I've never met him. I'm not a member of any poltical party. I'm not working in Conservative HQ (or anywhere else for that matter). I don't run a Charity, donate to anyone in particular. Any questions can be sent to the email address over there --->


  1. You'd better give Third Sector a call and remind them this is a non-story:

    Have also responded in comments over at PS.

  2. PS,

    Cheers for the visit, I think this makes you about the third person to come here!

    They're actually reporting on a different story: The "missing" £15k, which sounds like a fairly standard accoutning cockup, which should be resolved fairly easily.

    That story has got very little to do with your point that the ratio in one year of donations to spend was extremely high. You claim that a ratio above 15% is far too high, but don't seem to worry too much about the other Charity I mentioned above (which really was a pretty random selection) with a ratio pushing 100% for a similar volume of dontations and grants. I don't actually know what the profile should be for growing Charities, or how much of this spend was exception (This annual report is much less detailed than those for a publically traded company). Maybe the ratio is typical for a Charity in that stage of its life. To be honest, I don't know. Though I do know that businesses tend to have extremely poor results in terms of return in their early years as their spend on rent and salaries is disproportionate to their income. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to assume that the same trend happens in fast growing Charities.

    As I've mentioned above, I have no connection to Mr Bailey, or any Charity (or political party or union for that matter).