5 Mar 2018

The Charity Commission has announced a suite of measures to help ensure charities learn the wider lessons from recent safeguarding revelations involving Oxfam and other charities, and to strengthen public trust and confidence in charities.

Charity Commission thumb

The Charity Commission has announced a suite of measures to help ensure charities learn the wider lessons from recent safeguarding revelations involving Oxfam and other charities, and to strengthen public trust and confidence in charities.

The measures include:

Summit on safeguarding in UK charities

A Summit on safeguarding in UK charities and umbrella bodies working in the UK. The summit will be an opportunity to reaffirm how vital it is that safeguarding is a key governance priority for charities, and to:

  • establish a shared understanding of the safeguarding challenges facing charities working in the UK and emphasise the importance of maintaining public trust in the sector
  • hear the sector's ideas for solutions and what actions they are taking and will take
  • agree and commit to actions jointly and individually to strengthen the safeguarding capability and capacity of charities working across the UK

New Charity Commission taskforce to handle the recent increase in safeguarding incident reports

The Commission is establishing a taskforce, including staff from across the Commission, to deal with the increased volume of safeguarding serious incident reports which it is already experiencing since the Oxfam story first appeared. The team will also undertake proactive work to ensure prompt and full reporting of serious safeguarding incidents, and give advice to charities reporting safeguarding incidents on appropriate actions.

Is is also reissuing its previous alert to all charities emphasising the importance of full and frank disclosure.

Additional safeguarding expertise

In addition to its existing engagement with various safeguarding experts in charities and across partner agencies, the commission will also use independent experts on safeguarding, both in the international context and in the UK, to advise and support the work of the taskforce, the investigations team leading the Oxfam inquiry, and the two charity summits.

Communication with informants

Helen Stephenson has also said she wants the organisation to review the way in which it communicates with informants who raise serious regulatory concerns that result in regulatory action.

Key recent work on safeguarding by regulator

  • Annual report on compliance case work published in February 2018 - report highlights growing case work involving safeguarding issues, and reminds charities to prioritise safeguarding in their charities.
  • Safeguarding strategy updated in December 2017: the new strategy makes clear that safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered vulnerable.
  • Safeguarding alert issued in December 2017 warning charities to a) report incidents now if they have failed to in the past and b) review their safeguarding policy and procedures if they have not done so in the last 12 months. The Commission will reissue that alert to all charities emphasising the importance of full and frank disclosure.
  • Safeguarding alert issued in October 2017 to newly registered veterans charities, following a proactive case-working project which highlighted concerns around safeguarding in some newly registered military charities.
  • Guidance on reporting serious incidents - updated in September 2017. This followed a consultation with charities. In publishing the new guidance, the Commission highlighted its concerns that charities continue to underreport incidents.

 

WCVA's Safeguarding Service provides information, resources, training and advice for third sector organisations.

We will continue to work with the Charity Commission to ensure that regulatory information about safeguarding is disseminated to the sector in Wales.

If your organisation needs support with safeguarding, please contact our Safeguarding Officer via email safeguarding@wcva.org.uk or via the Helpdesk 0800 2888 329.