NCVO has invited a former trustee, who quit after less than a year, a role on its equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) committee.
A document sent to more than a hundred NCVO staff and associates on Monday, seen by Civil Society News, said that Kiran Kaur had been offered an independent position helping the charity make progress on its equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) commitments.
The document provided information to help staff and associates answer questions from stakeholders, including the public, about the charity's EDI work. However, NCVO said it was never intended to be in the public domain and has apologised to Kaur.
Kaur left the NCVO board after less than year, saying that “the change I seek is beyond this role”. She did not respond to questions about whether she will take up the offer.
Her departure came in the same week that a leaked report showed allegations of widespread bullying and harassment at the charity.
'We have apologised to Kiran that this is now in the public domain'
The Q&A-style document was shared with staff and associates to help them “respond to questions and enquiries from members, stakeholder, clients and the public concerning NCVO’s work on equity, diversity and inclusion”.
It noted that Kaur had stepped down as a trustee, and said: “Kiran has been offered an independent role on the EDI sub-committee and to be involved in a lesson-learning session to follow-up to the report.”
An NCVO spokesperson said: “The information about Kiran being invited to stay on the EDI committee and being asked to take part in a lessons learnt session with the board was contained in an internal document for the use of staff.
“We have apologised to Kiran that this is now in the public domain.
“Our primary aim on Monday was to support staff and be as transparent as possible with close stakeholders.”
NCVO did not say whether Kaur had accepted the offer.
Potential questions from members
The document also showed that NCVO is preparing for the possibility that charities may try and distance themselves the umbrella body, in light of recent reports.
It anticipated that NCVO members might ask staff and associates: “I don’t want to be associated with NCVO as a result of the EDI report, can I have a refund on a training course I have booked / my membership / Trusted Charity (and any other refund request)?”
Respondents are advised to say that NCVO is “happy to give a refund” if asked.
Another question suggested NCVO is prepared for the perception that the allegations will make it harder for the charity to focus on its other work.
If asked, “Is NCVO too focused on internal matters to be a strong advocate for the sector?”, staff and associates are advised to refer members to its new strategy and stress that “NCVO remains committed to supporting, connecting and mobilising members” and is “evolving as an organisation”.
Another early departure from the board
In a separate development, NCVO also confirmed that a second trustee left the board before completing his term.
Andy Cook, the chief executive of the right-leaning think tank Centre for Social Justice, stepped down in June last year, despite having six months left on his term as a trustee.
NCVO told Civil Society News that Cook stepped down in June 2020 “due to pressure on his time, having served on the board since 2015.
“Our chair and fellow trustees are grateful to him for his service over the years.”
Editor's note - 10 February 14.00
This article and its original headline ('NCVO apologises to former trustee after sharing offer of diversity role') have been amended to reflect an updated statement from NCVO. The initial statement said the information "should not have been shared", while the second statement says it was an "internal document".