The Charity Commission has issued formal regulatory advice to Yorkshire MESMAC - a charity which had been scrutinised by the Times over its safeguarding policy - and the charity has decided to wind down some of its activities, according to a regulatory case report.
Yorkshire MESMAC was criticised by the Times in late 2017 and March 2018 first over the wording of its safeguarding policy and then after a former trustee had been convicted of child sex offences. In March the charity said that the former trustee had been forced to resign as soon as it became aware of the police investigation. It also accused the Times of “gutter journalism” and threatened to take it to the press regulator.
In the compliance case report the Commission said that the charity should have reported serious incidents sooner and that in the past trustees should have “done more to prioritise safeguarding”.
It also revealed that Yorkshire MESMAC had now decided to “end their targeted work with young men and boys at risk of sexual exploitation and made arrangements to ensure a winding down of this service”.
The Commission said trustees had now taken measures to improve its policies and that they had co-operated with the inquiry.
Tracy Howarth, head of regulatory compliance at the Charity Commission, said: “People have a right to expect that charities are places where they will be protected, so we repeatedly remind trustees that safeguarding should be a governance priority. That includes taking steps to ensure no one who comes into contact with their charity suffers distress or harm, and is especially important when working with young people who may be at risk. I am encouraged by Yorkshire MESMAC’s progress so far on tightening its safeguarding procedures; it is vital that this continues.”