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Save the Children publishes progress report on workplace culture reform

19 Dec 2019 News

Save the Children has published a review of progress on improving its workplace culture, after problems with harassment and bullying were found at the charity last year.

Dr Suzanne Shale, an ethics consultant, carried out the independent assessment of progress in response to recommendations contained in the 2018 Independent Review of Workplace Culture.

She said the charity has proved to be “open, honest and humble about the charity’s imperfections and limitations, whilst still pursuing high ambitions to learn and improve”.

The assessment considers progress since the Independent Review of Workplace Culture at Save the Children, published in October 2018.

The 2018 report was also carried out by Shale and professor Murray-Anderson Wallace.

The latest review summarises positive developments at Save the Children, which include appointing three new trustees from diverse backgrounds and expertise in organisational development.

It discusses embedding accountability, openness and collaboration at the charity through a programme called Stronger which involves staff.

The programme is transitioning into a longer-term people and culture strategy.

Shale said: “The acid test will be whether the charity sustains into the future the commitments it has made in the past year to supporting its people and enhancing its workplace cultures.”

Strengthening working culture

Save the Children has also recruited a transformation director, a diversity and inclusion specialist and a wellbeing manager and has engaged its board in supporting, challenging and monitoring progress.

The charity has committed to strengthen its culture by developing a cross-organisational diversity and inclusion strategy, providing a renewed set of employee relations policies and guidance on how to raise a concern. 

These are now being tested with staff.

It is looking at good practice on how to measure workplace incivility and reviewing and strengthening its HR function.

Steven McIntosh, executive lead for organisational change at Save the Children, said: “We are determined to deliver a workplace culture which reflects Save the Children’s values and enables our staff to have the greatest impact for children. 

“We’ve made good progress in strengthening our foundations and are putting in place a long-term strategy to ensure this is sustained. 

“Critically, we will ensure this work is co-created with, and accountable to, our staff – and that we’re being transparent about where we are making progress and where further action is needed.”

2018 review into workplace culture

Shale carried out the Independent Review of Workplace Culture at Save the Children in 2018, where 28 per cent of staff said they had experienced discrimination or harassment in the last three years.

The review into working culture was commissioned after the charity faced criticism for its handling of allegations of sexual harassment against former chief executive Justin Forsyth and former policy director Brendan Cox.

A statutory inquiry by the Charity Commission is ongoing, investigating how Save the Children has dealt with allegations of misconduct and harassment against staff.

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