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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Upheaval at HIV Scotland as trustees and staff leave after governance review

This news post is about 2 years old

New chief executive ordered independent probe

HIV Scotland has undertaken an independent governance review following concerns over spending.

Five board members have stepped down after new chief executive Alastair Hudson replaced Nathan Sparling in January, while six out of seven staff have either resigned or been made redundant.

Complaints were previously raised with OSCR about spending on consultant fees, meeting expenses and salary advances made to Nathan Sparling amounting to £11,000.

Last month Sparling plead not guilty to charges of voyeurism at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Kevin Rowe, HIV Scotland’s former fundraising lead, told Third Sector: “Three staff were abruptly made redundant without any staff consultation, despite external funding being in place for 50% of one member of staff's salary until November 2022 – all three roles were, in my opinion, vital to the organisation.

“The other three, including myself, resigned.

“I could not in good conscience continue to fundraise for an administration which no longer felt aligned with my values and which had, in my opinion, mistreated staff who had fought very hard to make the charity thrive and remain stable throughout a pandemic. 

“In the space of just a few weeks, my job turned from one of the best and most productive I've ever had to one of the worst.”

A spokesperson for HIV Scotland said: “Since Alastair’s appointment, an independent governance review has been carried out, and the relevant regulatory bodies, including OSCR, have been engaged.  

“The governance review has outlined a series of recommendations which the board will now implement to ensure robust and transparent systems are in place.”

An OSCR spokesperson said: “We have received concerns relating to the charity. 

“These concerns are currently being assessed in line with our inquiry guidance. We cannot comment any further at this stage.”



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Ian Davidson
about 2 years ago

It is always disheartening and depressing to read these "charity goes bad stories" as it has a negative impact on good works performed at "street level" and can also contribute to a more general public ambivalence towards charities. Prior to reading this story I was feeling a little judgemental about the (to me, high) level of salary being offered by a charity job advert in your paper! There is no "magic bullet" as charities, like any other organisation, are composed of fallible human beings. The misdeeds of a few folk at the top can adversely affect the work of thousands; equally the best board in the world will struggle to maintain good PR if street level operatives abuse their position (eg Oxfam aid workers sexual harassment etc)? Charities have to offer "competitive" salaries at senior level but there is always a danger that this goes beyond what the funding public may perceive as "right"? An ongoing dilemma! (I have no connection with or knowledge of HIV Scotland).