With the main part of the 2012 AGM season yet to come, the Daily Telegraph published a letter last week from the Church Commissioners for England and a group of other charity organisations which reminds charity and other investors of the shareholder rights they have at their disposal to shape company practice.
Andreas Whittam Smith, First Church Estates Commissioner, an ACEVO member said: "Until now, charities' contributions to the public debate about the issue of executive remuneration have been fairly muted. However, with the AGM season upon us, the Church Commissioners and a substantial coalition of other charities wish to put their concerns on the record. They feel that this is the right time for charities to make their feelings on the issue known ".
A range of charities have investments of their assetts and endowments. They receive the income and capital returns generated by their investment to support beneficiaries . But they do not always think about how to use the power that this capital asset brings. Whether in voting or in using investmets to promote social aims. The Charity Connission recently relaxed guidance on charity investments so that charities can support social benefit amd we need to use that.
And as these investments tend largely to consist of real assets, including equity holdings, the members of the group hold shares in many of the UK's publicly listed companies. So let's use that power. We can be part of the shareholder uprising that demands companies are more accountable amd that there is an end to a bonus culture which bears no relation to success and rewards failure. In spades.
A great session in Birmingham yesterday. Amazing to hear of whacky new scheme in Birmingham Council called " micro tendering" where they ask for organisations to bid to provide services to each individual social care client. A sort of reverse personal budget policy! Putting the needs of clients first I don't think!
And always fun to hear reminders of how interesting our trustees can be. One member told me of a colleague whose trustees were really concerned about the amount of time she was working in the office and how tired that made her , with travel to and from the office as well, so they decided they would club together to buy her a sofa bed for the office to cut her travelling time. Ah bless