Since June 2019 the Chartered Institute of Fundraising has investigated eight complaints regarding allegations of inappropriate behaviour and sexual harassment, it revealed today.
The Chartered Institute released the details on Friday afternoon, three days after apologising for the fact that previous communications around its handling of complaints had “caused confusion and distress”.
The organisation’s leaders met with representatives from some if its committees yesterday, to discuss claims that the Chartered Institute had not acted on complaints in the past.
In a statement on its website, the organisation said that sanctions have been imposed in “the majority” of the eight cases. This includes formal apologies to victims of harassment and temporarily banning people from membership.
The Chartered Institute also said that it will publish the outcome of investigations where someone has been sanctioned and it is “in the public interest” to do so.
The Chartered Institute said: “Since we changed our complaints policy in June 2019, we have completed eight investigations, which include allegations of sexual harassment from several years ago.
“The majority of these cases have resulted in sanctions being imposed.
“Where possible and appropriate the sanctions imposed are specifically in accordance with the complainants’ wishes.
“Sanctions have included formal apologies being made to the complainant in question to being banned from membership of the Chartered Institute for a period of time.”
The Chartered Institute also committed for the first time to publishing the outcome of some complaints, where it was decided to be in the public interest.
The statement said: “Although we haven’t previously published the outcome of investigations, the board made a decision in October 2020 to publish decisions where there has been an adverse finding and it is in the public interest to do so.”
Will release complaints review summary
The consultancy Tell Jane conducted an independent review of the Chartered Institute’s complaints procedure at the end of last year.
The Chartered Institute said: “In developing the review, Tell Jane have considered sensitive and confidential information and have done so on the basis that the report would respect these confidences and would not be published.
“We will, however, publish an executive summary of the report as well as the action the trustees' plan to take as a result of the review and wider member feedback.”
Lewis: 'Absolutely committed' to delivering change
Peter Lewis, the chief executive of the Chartered Institute, said: “In what has been an acutely difficult week for women and many fundraisers, I want to directly address the issue of sexual harassment of women in the fundraising community.
“We made clear in 2019 that sexual harassment is totally unacceptable in our community, improved our complaints policy, and set up access to an independent confidential helpline, Tell Jane, to offer support and advice. But these actions have clearly not been enough. For that I want to apologise to every member of the fundraising community.”
He added: “I would like to reassure you that the board of trustees and the staff team, working with many of our amazing volunteers across the UK, are absolutely committed to urgently addressing the issues raised, and delivering the culture change required.”