Vicky Browning, CEO of ACEVO, has responded to today’s Charity Commission inquiry report on Oxfam
“Today’s report from the Charity Commission is a detailed look at where Oxfam’s culture, practices and policies fell short in protecting those they support and work with. Oxfam’s CEO and its chair of trustees have apologised and accepted the findings of the report. We welcome this, along with the list of improvements Oxfam has already put in place. But it’s important to note that Oxfam has also admitted that there is still more to do: cultural systemic change takes time, and it takes commitment.
“We know that harassment and bullying happen across all sectors – government, businesses, the media, the public sector. The charity sector is no exception. The recommendations in the Charity Commission report underpin the work that we and others in the sector have started over the last 18 months to improve safeguarding and safer cultures in both international and domestic charities.
“As a sector, we cannot miss this chance to surface issues which are wider than the charity sector but have for too long been seen as ‘off-limits’ for public discussion. This will be hard because it will mean there are more days like this, more days when we will have to confront where a charity has not got it right. But we must be less fearful of learning from failure and admitting to it.
“ACEVO will work with funders, the regulator and the public to build an environment that doesn’t see investment in ‘back-office functions’ like safeguarding staff as a failure. We are also committed to realising the recommendations made in our own reports on leading safer cultures and shining a light on bullying in the charity sector, which we believe will prevent the cultural slippage that can result in unchallenged poor behaviour escalating and causing harm to those we work alongside.
“Charity leaders are working hard on these issues to make sure we don’t just do good, we do good well.”