Whistleblowing in charities
Awareness of the facility to report wrong doing and workers duty to also report problems within a charity is increasing as 101 whistleblowing reports were received by the Charity Commission (CC) in 2017/18, compared with 88 in 2016/17. All 101 reports received an initial assessment and of these:
- 82 reports were identified as potentially needing some regulatory action
- 19 were considered as low risk
- 51 cases were closed
When a case is completed the CC record the outcome and actions by allocating codes, however in the cases where there is more than 1 outcome, multiple codes will be used.
From the 51 closed cases mentioned above:
- 39 indicate some form of regulatory activity or advice, for example providing general guidance or verifying that trustees are acting correctly
- 15 indicate a higher level of regulatory activity, for example providing corrective advice for trustees to act upon
Charity employees can report concerns about certain categories of serious wrongdoing at their charity to the Charity Commission. The commission asks that whistleblowing reports are made in writing via the dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org
These employees have some protection in law under the Public Interest Disclosure Act (the Act) from detrimental treatment or victimisation from their employer if, in the public interest, they report concerns about serious wrongdoing at their charity to the commission, provided that the concerns they report meet the conditions in the Act for a ’protected disclosure’.
As best practice, we would recommend that you have a whistleblowing policy in place and that it is communicated clearly to all employees, so they can refer to it should the situation arise.
The charity Protect provides free confidential advice to employees who have concerns about wrongdoing in the workplace. You can contact the charity on 020 7404 6609.