Charity Commission clarifies bullying and harassment roles and responsibilities
Posted on: September 9th 2022 · read
The outcomes of a working group, which included the Charity Commission and a range of charity sector and other representatives, has resulted in the Charity Commission clarifying respective responsibilities in preventing and responding to incidents of bullying and harassment in charities.
The proportion of workers in the charity sector from an ethnic minority background decreased from 10.2% (94,000) to Addressing bullying and harassment, which should never be accepted in the charity sector, benefits from collective recognition of the contributions required from individual charities, wider sector leadership, the regulator, government, and other experts. The working group focused on the discussion and clarification of those respective roles and responsibilities and explored ways those involved can take action to address bullying and harassment.
The role of trustees
- Trustees must recognise that there is simply no place for bullying and harassment within, or by, charities.
- Trustees have a central role to play to ensure their charity has clear policies, and that allegations are handled appropriately and in line with employment and other laws.
- Trustees are responsible for ensuring the charity has processes in place to hear any concerns raised and address the matter.
The role of the Charity Commission
- Being a risk-based regulator, the Charity Commission prioritises involvement to address the highest risk of harm, for example where there are concerns that trustees have not addressed reported bullying or harassment that is widespread and systemic within a charity.
- The Commission has a range of possible responses to such cases, from providing regulatory advice to trustees to the opening of a statutory inquiry.
- The Commission seeks to ensure that the charity’s trustees are responding to the incidents appropriately.
- It is not the Commission’s role to resolve individual employment issues.
The Commission continues to encourage charity workers and volunteers to report issues that could seriously harm: the people a charity helps, the charity’s staff or volunteers, services the charity provides, the charity’s assets and the charity’s reputation.
The working group will continue to meet to explore further strands of work relating to charity leadership, what constitutes or contributes to bullying behaviour, as well as increasing visibility of existing resources.
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