Saturday musings: The (former) Culture Secretary and charity governance

Last week, the then Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, (who has just been replaced) published an op-ed piece in the Sunday Telegraph on the recruitment of a new Chair of the Charity Commission. In it, he criticised the Churchill Fellowship for what he described as “a controversial rebrand which appeared to airbrush Sir Winston Churchill from its public profile” and the Guy’s and St Thomas’s Foundation for moving a statue of Thomas Guy out of the hospital’s main forecourt. He described their actions as “a worrying trend in some charities that appear to have been hijacked by a vocal minority seeking to burnish their woke credentials”. In consequence, he told Telegraph readers, he has “instructed those leading the search to ensure that the new leader of the Commission will restore charities’ focus to their central purpose and empower Trustees to be robust” – all of which is vaguely reminiscent of a former junior Charities Minister who opined that charities should “stick to their knitting”.

Continue reading