Over 1,000 charity safeguarding incidents reported to regulator since February

03 Jul 2018 News

The Charity Commission received 1,152 reports of serious incidents relating to safeguarding concerns between February and the end of May, according to an update from the regulator

After media reports of widespread safeguarding issues in the international aid sector, beginning with reports about how Oxfam handled issues in Haiti, the Commission set up a safeguarding taskforce and urged charities to come forward and report incidents. 

The regulator had previously raised concerns about under-reporting of serious incidents by charities. 

In the immediate aftermath of the safeguarding scandal the number of reports the Commission received tripled compared to the previous year, with it getting 532 reports of serious incidents relating to safeguarding in February and March.

Over 700 new cases 

The latest update shows that reporting of incidents continued to increase, with the regulator receiving 620 safeguarding-related reports in April and May. 

The Commission has now opened 734 compliance cases as a result of safeguarding concerns that have been reported. 

Reports “cover a wide spectrum,” the Commission said, with some relating to risk of harm because procedures were not followed, rather than actual harm.

‘Deep dive’ review of records

The Commission embarked on a “deep dive” of 5,501 reports that it received between 1 April 2014 and 20 February 2018 to identify any gaps. 

It also intends to make sure that charities have undertaken appropriate follow-up action. 

The regulator has now analysed 95 per cent of the selected incidents and said there were no cases so far where it found immediate action was required. It also found that some 3,000 involved allegations of potential criminal behaviour and that all of these were reported to police or other relevant authority. 

Once the taskforce has completed its work the Commission will publish its findings. 

Commission bosses to appear before MPs today

The International Development Committee has opened an inquiry into sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector. 

The Commission's chief executive, Helen Stephenson, deputy chief executive, David Holdsworth, and director of investigations, monitoring and enforcement, Michelle Russell are due to give evidence this afternoon. 

Penny Mordaunt, secretary of state for international development and Peter Taylor, head of the safeguarding unit at the Department for International Development are also giving evidence. 

The session begins at 2.30pm and can be watched online here

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