Save the Children chair resigns after ‘upsetting’ remarks

02 Jan 2019 News

Peter Bennett-Jones

The chair of Save the Children UK has resigned following complaints about comments he made to staff about the charity’s future direction.

Peter Bennett-Jones, who took up the role in 2015, had planned to step down later in 2019 but will now leave this month.

Over the past year the charity has been criticised for its handling serious allegations of sexual misconduct by senior members of its staff.

In response, the charity has been reviewing its working culture.

An independent investigation into complaints about remarks made by Bennett-Jones early last year found his comments “could have been perceived as being at odds with the organisation’s response to a review of its working culture”.

The charity said in a statement last month that Bennett-Jones has apologised for any upset he caused.

A spokesperson for the charity’s board said: “We on the board are grateful for Peter’s passionate commitment to our important cause and his unwavering dedication as chair over the past three years in steering the charity through some difficult times.

“The trustees do not doubt Peter’s support for – and commitment to – the charity’s continuing efforts to strengthen its culture.”

An interim chair will be appointed this month.

Bennett-Jones’ resignation follows the resignation of the Save the Children International’s chair Sir Alan Parker last year.

Parker resigned after harassment cases came to light early last year involving two former staff members, Brendon Cox, widow of murdered MP Jo Cox, and Justin Forsyth, former chief executive of Save the Children UK.

Save the Children’s independent review, conducted by ethics expert Suzanne Shale, found last year that 28 per cent of its staff report that they have experienced discrimination or harassment in the last three years.

The Charity Commission is also carrying out a separate regulatory inquiry into the charity.

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