Questions are being asked about the effectiveness of charity regulation.
This follows the recent revelations around Oxfam and safeguarding incidents following the Haiti disaster.
Over the weekend it was revealed that a number of Oxfam staff have resigned or been sacked, after an investigation into their activities in the country following the 2010 earthquake.
The regulator for English and Welsh charities, the Charities Commission responded today. They said Oxfam had reported some issues to them back in 2011 but did not disclose details to the level that have most recently come to light.
“It [the report] made no mention of any potential sexual crimes involving minors. Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time… We have written to the charity as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti in 2011 to establish greater clarity on this matter.” The Charities Commission said in their formal response to the Oxfam revelations today.
“It is important that charities engage with the regulator frankly and openly. We must fully understand the allegations that have been made to ensure that we have confidence in the charity’s approach to safeguarding now and in the future.”
Michelle Russell from the Charities Commission appeared on the BBCs Victoria Derbyshire show to discuss the matter. She said they “get about a 1,000 incidents around safeguarding that are reported to us every year by charities… We were categorically told by Oxfam that there were no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries”
“We were categorically told by @Oxfam that there were no allegations of abuse of beneficiaries – that appears to not be the case.’
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) February 12, 2018
Others have hit back suggesting that the regulator needs to be stronger and may not even be able to do its job.
@BBCr4today – OMG! We need an external commission! In some countries charities are the police, they are the government! Producer pls call me
— Tech soldier (@mjamme) February 12, 2018
You are a toothless organisation that will not take action against a charity unless forced to do so. I informed you that staff at @CarersUK were stalking me online and making fraudulent complaints to police and social services, you did NOTHING!
— UK_Carers (@ukcarers) February 12, 2018
Labour MP Peter Kyle accused the government of cutting the regulators funding and called on them to explain how the commission is supposed to regulate with their current budget.
Now would be a good time for govt to explain why they cut the Charity Commission’s budget by 40%, froze it for 4 years, but still expected it to police 160,000 charities at home and abroad on £20m a year https://t.co/3Bqqa6r3u8
— Peter Kyle MP (@peterkyle) February 12, 2018
Sub-editor: Tom Geggus