Save the Children UK accepts in full the Charity Commission inquiry report’s findings – and we are committed to using the report to continue to strengthen our organisation to build a culture fully aligned to the values underpinning our mission.
The inquiry has found that we made serious errors in how we handled complaints of harassment and misconduct made in 2012 and 2015 about the CEO at the time. The harm done to the women affected was compounded by a failure to follow our own policies and procedures. These failures meant that the complaints were not reported to our full Board of Trustees or fully enough to the Commission. The inquiry has also concluded that, later in 2018, we were too defensive in our response to media coverage of these complaints.
I have unreservedly apologised to the women affected for the inadequate handling of their complaints and for the way we reacted in the media.
Beyond how we respond to specific incidents, we are facing up to much deeper lessons about the culture of our organisation.
Our organisation is built on compassion, trust and respect. These values define who we are. They are at the heart of what our charity stands for. They are what motivate our staff as they work to bring hope to some of the world’s most vulnerable children – and they underpin our relationships with the public, partners and governments.
These same values should be reflected in the workplace and in the experience of staff working for Save the Children UK. We have not always lived up to this – and we are working hard to learn from where we have gone wrong. No organisation can say it’s immune from bad behaviour, but we can create an environment where staff know this behaviour won’t be tolerated and where they feel safe to raise concerns. Thanks to an independent review of culture and subsequent assessment of the progress we’ve made, I’m confident we’re heading in the right direction – but we still have work to do.
I’m aware that the failures highlighted in these investigations put at risk trust that so many people have invested in our organisation. All of us at Save the Children UK are incredibly grateful for your support – and we will be doing everything in our power to repay that support by delivering on our ambition for children.