Oxfam scandal: Charities Commission hits back at regulation criticism

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”

Others have hit back suggesting that the regulator needs to be stronger and may not even be able to do its job.

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.

Sub-editor: Tom Geggus

Featured Image: Oxfam International (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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