The Charity Commission has today published refreshed guidance on whistleblowing and reporting incidences of serious harm, including safeguarding and reputational concerns.
The regulator said it will use these reports to determine if the charity is at risk, and how serious it is. It said it will make a record of these concerns and investigate those that pose the highest risk. It said that when it investigates these concerns it usually works with trustees and the charity to help it get back on track.
The Charity Commission announced earlier this month that it was launching a new whistleblowing helpline as part of a series of measures to help people working in charities report concerns.
It said it would be publishing improved guidance, and provide more training for its staff to help whistleblowers. The regulator is encouraging individuals and charities to report issues that could seriously harm:
- the people a charity helps
- the charity’s staff or volunteers
- services the charity provides
- the charity’s assets
- the charity’s reputation
It said examples of serious harm include:
- if someone’s health or safety is in danger, for example if a charity does not use its safeguarding policy
- a criminal offence, for example theft, fraud or financial mismanagement
- if a charity uses its activities as a platform for extremist views or materials
- loss of charity funds, for example when a charity loses more than 20% of its income or more than £25,000
- if the charity does not meet its legal obligations, for example if someone uses a charity for significant personal advantage
It also gave advice on whistleblowing and how to meet special requirements to be protected by law.
A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “As regulator we place great importance in whistleblowers who often bring vital information that helps us hold charities to account.
“We have updated our guidance on whistleblowing to help people better understand when, and how, they can report wrongdoing to us. These changes are designed to make our guidance more accessible. We want to make it as easy as possible for people who make what is often a brave decision to come to us with concerns.”