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Big buck cost of NPSO directors just for the first few months of operation

NPSO Report & Accounts for the period from its foundation on 18th July 2017 until 31st December 2017 show Directors' Remuneration at £229,469, with the highest-paid director receiving £93,333.

This seems like a very large bill for a board on which 6 out of 7 directors were non-executive.

It is not even a bill for 1/2 of a year, but more like 1/4, since NPSO did not get up-and-running properly until Q4.

The first director (Melanie Johnson - Non-Executive Chair) was appointed on 1st September, to be followed by:

  • Anna Bradley - Independent Non-Executive Director on 1st October
  • Russell Saunders - Non-Executive Director on 1st October
  • Robert Stansbury - Independent Non-Executive Director on 1st October
  • Peter Wyman - Independent Non-Executive Director on 1st October
  • Rebecca Clements - Non-Executive Director on 1st October
  • Paul Horlock - Chief Executive Officer on 11th October

Now there are four more Non-Executive Directors and one more Executive Director, so Directors' Remuneration can be expected to top seven figures for 2018 for 10 Non-Executives and 2 Executives.

There were then only four Board Meetings of sufficient significance in 2017 for the minutes to be published on NPSO's website - 11th October, 8th November, 13th December and 20th December. (As an aside, the style of the Board minutes uses mainly the passive tense such as "it was discussed.." and "it was decided", without including specific comments made by individual Board Members. It then becomes difficult to determine whether any of them spoke, the more so since the burden of work falls upon the staff under "NPSO Support" who are named as speaking and shown as having most of the follow-up work allocated to them. "VG", "CB", "KM" and "BW" bore the brunt of the follow-up work from the 8th November Board Meeting).

NPSO racked up an Operating Loss of £1,818,220 in its first accounting period, and this was covered by "funds received from industry participants". At least it isn't taxpayers' money, but you would have thought that these "industry participants" might be asking questions about how their money was being spent, and what work and value the directors were delivering in exchange for their remuneration. Do the directors, particularly the non-executive ones, at least have to produce a time sheet?

They would have been able to ask these questions had it been the BACS or Faster Payments or Cheque&Credit scheme companies, as the participants were the owners and could hold the directors to account.

The problem is that they have no avenue through which to do that in the new world. NPSO is owned by its three member-guarantors, who are also NPSO directors:

  • Robert Stansbury - the same Independent Non-Executive Director as indicated above
  • Richard Anderson - Independent Non-Executive Director appointed on 12th April 2018
  • Christine Ashton - Independent Non-Executive Director appointed on 7th March 2018

Conflict of interest? Nice little earner? The choice is yours - or not, if you do not number amongst the elect.

Coming soon: a CoP-out by NPSO Board on 6th June - "The Board agreed (regarding Confirmation of Payee) that a way forward was required but that it was not NPSO’s responsibility to come up with the solution, it could only create the standard on which the industry would build".

This is not really an acceptable answer when CoP was conceived in the World Class Payments project by NPSO executives (then with Payments UK) in 2014, fostered through the Payment Strategy Forum "NPA Development Hub" by that stream's co-chair (now NPSO's CEO, co-signatory of the NPA Project Initiation Document) and novated into NPSO proper, and back to the same "NPA Lead" at NPSO who was "Programme Manager - World Class Payments" at Payments UK. Washing one's hands of responsibility to get CoP to fly and making out it is the "industry" that has to deliver, after advocating the need for it for the last 4 years, does not hold water.

 

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