Housing Associations claim to be and indeed trade on the perception that they are charitable organisations driven by social purpose. The salaries they pay to their chief executives has just been published …
Every year Inside Housing publishes the latest HA CEO salary figures and I ordinarily don’t comment on them yet now that we see the first HA CEO to be paid more than half a million pounds per year and some have had a 32% increase in pay then comment is necessary.
Perception and reputation are two huge issues for any business and the HA sector has shot itself in the foot … with a cannon!
Tenants and government will be quoting “£500k+ plus salaries” at every turn and “32% wage increases” too whenever Housing Associations have the slightest moan about cuts or other policies and at any time when HA’s recite their mantra that they are charitable and are driven by social purpose or they have social ethos … even when HA’s have legitimate or valid arguments over cuts or policies!
We have a media and societal culture that compares any perceived public sector / charitable CEO salary to that of the Prime Minister and a salary that is three times that of the Prime Minister is indefensible in the eyes of the public.
I do not need to comment on whether David Cowans is worth £528k per year or not and even if I could discuss that with any seriousness, which I can’t, it would be unnecessary to do so. The fact that the salary is over half a million per year is indefensible to the vast majority of the public and will have huge reputational impact for every housing association, even those small ones that pay their chief executives £50k to £60k per year.
Pay increases of 32 per cent are similarly indefensible for much the same reasons.
Any and every housing association who tries to say or use the term social purpose or social ethos or anything similar will now be met with derision and scorn by everyone and at every turn.
The correct term the housing regulator uses for housing associations is Private Registered Providers and the above salary details readily explain my emphasis on that term.
Just did a quick check and of the 175 Housing Association CEO salaries 104 of them earn more than the £142,500 salary of the Prime Minister.
59.4% of HA CEO’s earn more than the Prime Minister … and you don’t think the government (and tenants) are going to have a field day over that statistic?!
Perhaps those who have responded with the same old same old defences for such salaries and who say that ALL HA’s won’t be tarnished by this will reconsider their views as that type of comparison will inevitably be made.
Reputation Reputation Reputation and Perception Perception Perception