Shelter an organisation with a turnover of £50 million The head of Shelter gets a salary of £90K Adam Sampson head of Shelter has revealed his distress over a row that erupted at the homeless charity involving a visit he made to the Glastonbury Festival. A serious allegation about Adam Sampson, Shelter’s £90,000-a-year chief executive, was made in an anonymous letter sent to the charity at the height of a dispute by staff whom he had ordered to work longer hours.Shelter’s board of trustees launched a formal investigation into the claims.
Hugh Norton, acting chairman of Shelter, said the inquiry found the allegations to be ‘baseless’ and the trustees still had full confidence in Mr Sampson. Mr Sampson, 49, has been involved in Shelter-backed events at Glastonbury for the past two years. The allegation was made after he went to last year’s festival. Referring to Glastonbury in his blog, he described being surrounded by ‘teenagers high on music and who-knows-what’.
Mr Sampson is poised to be appointed to a major new legal post at the Ministry of Justice, which gives Shelter £4million a year. He said: ‘The letter came at a time when we were making changes at Shelter and those changes were difficult for some people to adapt to. I am sad, but not surprised, if under those circumstances there was an attack on me personally. I’ve no idea who the individual was or what their motivation was.’
Asked about rumours that he was about to leave Shelter, Mr Sampson said: ‘I’m very happy at Shelter. I have the full support of my board. Of course, you are welcome to talk to anybody you think might be a future employer.’ Mr Sampson believes the allegations against him may have been linked to the industrial unrest that has raged at Shelter since he announced job cuts there last year as part of an efficiency drive.
Only this year more than 200 of Shelter’s 850 staff took to the streets to protest. Staff were ordered to work an extra two-and-a-half hours a week without extra pay.Mr Sampson told them in an email: ‘Those who decide that they are not prepared to work under the new arrangements will, with regret, be issued with notices of dismissal.’
Union leaders claimed Shelter’s management had wasted large amounts of money, including £500,000 spent on refurbishing its head office. Staff claim Mr Sampson’s ‘high-handed’ manner was one of the main reasons for the dispute.
‘He would fire off emails which inflamed the situation,’ said one worker.
The dispute left the charity riven with infighting at a time when the recession has pushed the issue of homelessness up the political agenda Shelter receives an income of £50million a year. About £14million of this comes from statutory bodies funded by the taxpayer, and £4million from the Ministry of Justice which pays for the charity’s legal and housing aid centres.
Mr Sampson, Shelter’s chief executive since January 2003, is a former chief executive of the Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust. Last year he was appointed to the UK Drug Policy Commission, a body that investigates new ways to curb drug-taking.