Charity Commission to consider complaint made by Tory MPs about Barnardo’s

08 Dec 2020 News

The Charity Commission is considering the complaint made by a group of Conservative MPs about children’s charity Barnardo’s.

The group of MPs criticised Barnardo’s after the charity published a blog, in October, about what white privilege is and how children can be helped to understand it.

They have called on the Commission to investigate, and the regulator has said it “will consider” the complaint.

A Commission spokesperson said: “As with all concerns raised with us, we will consider this complaint in line with our regulatory framework. We are unable to comment further at this time.”

It has not opened a statutory investigation.

The letter: 'Political dogma' replacing 'compassion and generosity'

Twelve members of the “Common Sense Group” wrote to Barnardo’s chief executive, Javed Khan, accusing the charity of letting “political dogma” replace “compassion and generosity”.

The group comprises 59 MPs and seven members of the House of Lords have said they wish to promote a “traditional Tory view” on immigration and work against “the woke agenda”.

The letter was signed by the group’s founder Sir John Hayes, as well as Conservative MPs Tom Hunt, Pauline Latham, Edward Leigh, Marco Longhi, Craig Mackinlay, James Sunderland, and Henry Smith.

In the letter, MPs wrote it was “as spiteful as it is silly” to suggest that “privilege or prejudice are the exclusive preserve of a particular ethnic group”.

Barnardo’s: To be ‘colour blind’ would be to fundamentally fail in our duty

Responding to the letter, Barnardo’s said it had a responsibility “to raise awareness of all issues affecting children – no matter how difficult or uncomfortable”. 

The charity said: “For the one-in-five Barnardo’s service users who are Black, Asian or minority ethnic, the colour of their skin is an additional factor that negatively affects them and their families in a multitude of well-documented ways.

“Those who nurture the next generation of children should therefore be supported in understanding racial inequality in all its complexity, so that they in turn can find appropriate ways of discussing this with children – much in the same way other big parenting conversations happen already.”

The charity added: “We certainly don’t believe Britain is racist or that anyone should feel guilt about being from a particular background.

“We do know that in our country in 2020 being non-white creates particular and additional needs – indeed the blog itself was written based on what children in our services told us they wanted to convey. To be ‘colour blind’ would be to fundamentally fail in our duty to address the needs of these children. 

“It is in that spirit we keep on raising awareness of the issues that affect this group – and we hope you will join us in doing so.”

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