Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association

CABA LOGOThe Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association (CABA) provides advice and practical support to current and former ICAEW chartered accountants and their families.

As at 31 December 2012 CABA had just under £2 million pounds in income but had unrestricted reserves of £86.1m.

CABA has 27 employees

1 employee earned £100,000 – £110,000
1 employee earned £70,000 – £80,000

Pension contributions relating to these two employees during the year were £9,000 and £6,000 respectively.

WHAT DO CABA DO?

CABA helps current and former ICAEW members facing a wide range of life-issues. However, despite sitting on £86 million pounds in reserves accounts show that in 2012 Direct Aid expenditure fell by £66,000 and Expenditure on longer term grants fell by £129,000.

HOW DO CABA TREAT THEIR EMPLOYEES

CABA Statement on Employees:
The quality and commitment of our staff has played a major role in our success. Employees’ performance is aligned to Charity goals and individual objectives. We train our staff in order to ensure that they are supported in achieving their objectives.

CABA & Treatment of Employees

Charity Watch UK has received reports that CABA do not support their staff as they claim and that there is a culture of bullying and a highly authoritarian approach to management.

One case in particular has recently been completed, in the employees favour, at an employment tribunal.

Samantha Reddy had been employed by CABA for more than four years. Following difficulties at work she resigned in July 2013 and made a claim for constructive dismissal to the Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunal hearing was held in Birmingham in late January 2014. It was found that she had been unfairly dismissed and the Judgment was published on 17 February 2014. The Employment Tribunal found CABA to have “fallen well short of the standards reasonably required of an employer”.

The full story has been well documented here: Third Sector News article.

Tribunal Highlights

Some highlights of the tribunal findings make interesting reading.

CABA have a highly authoritarian approach to management.

The tribunal’s judgment says that Reddy’s managers (Natalie Worth and Kelly Feehan) called her into a series of meetings in which issues were raised about her behaviour, attitude and standard of dress. Reddy’s managers claimed the meetings were informal but the tribunal found that they were disciplinary in nature.

In June, Reddy wrote to Feehan asking for a more detailed explanation in writing of the accusations made against her by her managers, but Feehan refused to provide one.

The tribunal noted that this placed Reddy “in the Kafkaesque dilemma of being told that she must behave better in future without ever having been told when or how she had done wrong in the past”.

In a final meeting on 12 July last year between Reddy and Caba’s HR manager, Tracey Birch, Birch accused Reddy of being paranoid and stormed out. The tribunal describes Birch’s behaviour as “unprofessional and inappropriate” and Worth’s management style in general as “autocratic and old-fashioned”.

Dirty Tricks

CABA used the old trick of employing an “independent person” (who was anything but) to deal with Ms Reddy’s grievance. He had worked previously with CABA’s employment advisers – He also sent his report to the managers at CABA but not to Ms Reddy. Because the grievance procedure took five months to complete the tribunal awarded an extra 25% , to Ms Reddy, in compensation.

An unknown spokesperson for CABA said:

“As befits a charity in our position, we strive to be transparent and fair in our handling of all staffing matters. However, like any organisation, we sometimes make errors and the employment tribunal finding showed that improvements could be made in some areas of our procedures. We are therefore currently reviewing the relevant HR procedures in order to ensure that a similar issue is very unlikely to arise in the future.”

Caba claims that its trustees take their legal and ethical responsibilities towards staff seriously and have faith in the charity’s leadership team.

Ms Reddy disagreed:

“A very large number of employees have left or been forced to leave, some of them in circumstances perhaps not dissimilar to the situation I found myself in. This reflects very badly on the how the charity is managed. Many have received a pay-off and or have had to sign confidentiality clauses.”

Others have also written to Charity Watch UK and disagreed:

“I know of 7 people, not including myself, who’s grievances were silenced in effect by compromise agreements or tribunal hearings. My concern is that a charity that promotes health and wellbeing has been so damaging to so many lives.”

“CABA is an organisation that creates work for its own purpose, to justify extortionate pay at senior level and in effect make profit that is not directly put to the use of its members seeking help is immoral. I feel ashamed to have worked in such an environment.”

And perhaps the answer to what are CABA for?

“The pay of the managers and the chief executive equated to more than the combined charitable donations it made to 200 clients during the time I was there.”

Given the large reserves (£86 million) CABA look like a charity that exists to satisfy the management, with little being spent on their clients.

Charity Watch asks:

How much of the charity’s money has been spent on settling claims with disgruntled employee’s?

Has the charity disciplined any of the managers who are causing the conflict?

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10 Responses to Chartered Accountants’ Benevolent Association

  1. anonymous says:

    thank god they are being exposed at last. never mind that CABA really is a tax-dodge in my opinion – making certain charitable awards, whilst continuing to make profit – could their charitable status and the tax-free benefits have anything to do with anything I wonder? it’s a scam and I really wish they would be fully investigated – their awards rational is ridiculous and so so unfair to the client group.

    • We are not alone in believing that the Charity Commission are hopeless – otherwise charities like this would not exist – we need a complete overhaul of charity law to meet the needs of the 21st Century

  2. Anonymous says:

    Its interesting that in the ‘what caba do’ bit above does not match with their charitable objects – as found on their website. Are they refusing to help a group of people they are required to help?

  3. K. Mitchell says:

    disgusting that they have now complained about the comments on the other site and had the comments removed – trying to stifle the truth yet again!

  4. samreddy2 says:

    It is interesting to note that CABA has objected to some of the comments made on this article but not denied them. I have spoken to various reliable sources at CABA who have advised that following my recent letter addressed to the Trustees of CABA with the staff copied in to, that a staff meeting was called by the senior management team and the CABA President Richard Wade. I have not received an acknowledgement or response to my letter. Mr Wade was said to have told the staff that the CABA described in my letter was a CABA that neither he nor the management team recognised and that I was being vexatious in my comments. He also told the staff that my case was won on a technicality – this is untrue as from the judgement it is clear on the outcome.
    These comments really concern me if they are coming from the head of this organisation as Mr Wade is part of CABA’s personnel commitee and should therefore be aware of the high staff turn over. Last year alone approximately 7 people left their employment at CABA, with a staff compliment of approximately 30, that is a quarter of their workforce. There have been a number of grievances raised against management, particularly Natalie Worth, Head of Operations which would have come to the attention of Mr Wade as part of his role in the Personnel committee. The tribunal heard of 3 instances of bullying against Ms Worth.

    In addition to this Mr Wade would be aware of the negative feedback
    that former staff have left at exit interviews.
    I am fully aware that Mr Wade investigated a grievance raised by a former colleague who also made a claim against CABA to the Employment Tribunal for treatment recieved from the senior management team. The case was however settled days before it was due to go court. The colleague was one of many people who had taken time off with work related stress.

    So how is it possible that Mr Wade does not recognise the CABA described in my letter, a place where employees work under fear that they may be next.
    I hoped that by highlighting my case and providing others with a platform to come forward with their stories, that the Trustees of CABA would
    carry out a thorough investigation and bring about positive changes to the management at CABA, so that no one else goes through the extremely stressful and difficult experience that has had a huge impact on many lives already.

  5. Anon says:

    What do the CABA really do? In my experience not a lot at all to help out those who they are supposed to support, this piece of the article is very telling:
    “The pay of the managers and the chief executive equated to more than the combined charitable donations it made to 200 clients during the time I was there.”

    • Rob Sheward says:

      I am a chartered accountant who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is severely disabled as a result. CABA have refused to give any assistance for adaptations to my new home on the basis that my income exceeds the ridiculously low limits that they place on applicants.

      Given that their applicants come from a professionally qualified population, it is hardly surprising that most applicants will fail to qualify.

      The level of their assets (£103,000,000 as at 31 December 2014) and their surplus income for the year £1 500,000 is hardly surprising given that they so seldom give any money to anybody other than themselves.

      They appear to be nothing more than a gravy train for those who run the organisation.

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