Senior post at Cope paid from public donations

State-funded body’s fundraising chief’s €71,400 salary paid by charitable funds

Cope Foundation said salary for its head of fundraising was in line with HSE pay scales. Photograph: Alan Betson

Cope Foundation said salary for its head of fundraising was in line with HSE pay scales. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sat, Dec 21, 2013, 01:00

The Cope Foundation, which provides services to people with autism and intellectual disabilities, has confirmed it has been paying a senior staff member out of charitable donations.

However, the organisation said the salary for its head of fundraising was in line with HSE pay scales and the individual did not receive any commission or additional allowances.

Cope is a publicly-funded organisation and receives public money to provide services to more than 2,000 people with intellectual disabilities or autism on behalf of the State.

The organisation has also been in talks with the HSE about continuing to pay its chief executive a higher salary than is set out in official pay scales. The chief executive receives a salary of €121,000, which is equivalent to an assistant secretary grade in the Civil Service. This is paid from State funding.

However, HSE pay scales indicate that the head of an organisation the size of Cope should be on a lower salary of roughly €90,000, equivalent to principal officer grade in the Civil Service.

In a statement, Cope said it was in discussion with the HSE to ensure all of its salaries were in full compliance with consolidated pay scales.

The organisation’s board of directors has made a business case to the HSE over aligning the chief executive’s salary and all other salaries with consolidated pay scales.

On the issue of the salary for its head of fundraising, Cope said this post received a salary €71,400, paid out of charitable funds. This was later reduced to €67,400 following pay cuts under the most recent national pay deal.

Cope said the fundraising department, along with volunteers, raised more than €1 million a year, and 80 per cent of this funding went towards services and supports for people with disabilities.The remainder was allocated to expenses involved in fundraising, including associated staffing costs.

Separately, Our Lady’s Hospice in Dublin, another publicly-funded health agency, has confirmed that it has been using charitable funds to employ dozens of staff at the hospital.

In a statement, it said it used these funds to maintain service levels and employ frontline workers such as nursing and medical staff, therapists and care workers. It said this equated to 40 whole-time equivalents and was in line with fundraising communications.

A HSE internal audit into publicly-funded health agencies relating to 2012 recently reported that Our Lady’s chief executive received a salary in excess of €120,000. This included a HSE-funded salary of €107,000, with a HSE allowance of €7,000 for managing Blackrock Hospice and a privately-funded allowance of €7,000. The audit figures do not reflect pay cuts under the recent national pay deal.

Four other staff also received privately funded allowances of similar amounts.

In a statement, Our Lady’s said any privately funded allowances paid to its senior staff were funded from the company’s investment income, not from fundraising, all of which went towards patient care or capital expenditure.

Cope Galway, the charity for homeless and victims of domestic violence, is a separate organisation and is not in any way aligned to the Cope Foundation.