Safeguarding questions and answers, July 2021

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Content warning: the page includes references to sexual harassment

Responding to questions from members at our AGM and Member Q&A session

This page brings together answers to questions that members of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising have asked at the AGM on 5th July and our Safeguarding Q&A on 15th July.

"How do you personally feel that you can build trust back in the Institute with your members?"

If you want change you have to instigate it, and as a trustee I see myself as an agent for change. I hope that you can put your trust in me

Nadine Campbell, Interim Chair of Trustees

This is a moment of change. This is the moment to strike and shape the strategy. So please get involved so we can change the frustrations we might have had in the past.

Isobel Michael, Trustee and Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Trustee

It is about recognising the pain and how soul-destroying this has been for individuals, and we genuinely feel that. Having open two-way conversations is going to be the first step in moving forward.

Kelvin Hopkins, Vice-chair

We need to show our commitment to you. To listen to you as individuals, ask you want you want us to change, how you want to see your Chartered Institute.

Rebecca Mansell, newly-elected Trustee

Questions and answers

In some cases, individual questions have been grouped together where they cover the same themes or where they were asked in both the AGM and Member Q&A session, to avoid duplication.

There were several questions asked around who was taking responsibility for actions and decisions made by the Chartered Institute; who is accountable and how are members able to hold them to account?

As Trustees, we take full and collective responsibility. This new Board is committed to working to build trust in what we do and unify our community.

This is a moment of transition for the Chartered Institute as it evolves with a new permanent Chief Executive and Chair to be appointed, and the election of new Trustees. We all have a responsibility to listen to what you, our members, are saying and to ensure that this guides the direction of our new strategy. We are also working towards the principles set out in the Charity Governance Code and will be reviewing how we measure against these at our next Board meeting and development needed.

We are committed to making this a Chartered Institute that serves all of our members across the whole of the UK and across all sizes of charities and fundraising roles.

We encourage people to get in touch with us at to input into how this can be achieved.

There were many questions asked about complaints handling, challenging how things had been dealt with in the past and asking if the Chartered Institute was serious about listening to women then how do we plan to solve this problem?

Sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination of any kind is completely unacceptable, and we have to make sure that we foster an environment where it is clear that this will not be tolerated, and all staff and volunteers understand how to take action on any concerns.

We absolutely need safer, clearer processes, so that everyone has confidence that what has happened will not happen again. We want to learn from past and recent failings, and we are determined to build a better and safer Chartered Institute.

The Board of Trustees fully understands the concern that has been expressed by members and the wider fundraising community about the handling of complaints by the Chartered Institute – both historically and recently – and how we have communicated to date. We recognise that many have been hurt and are angry, and it is upon us to rectify the mistakes which have been made in the past and recently, and regain trust.

We apologise that our actions have not been good enough. Our apology goes first and foremost to the women who have been let down, but we also apologise to all our members too.

The Chartered Institute commissioned Tell Jane to conduct two investigations this year into historical complaints. We recognise that these should have been investigated when they were first raised. The process has not yet been completed but we will issue a full clarifying statement in the coming weeks, once this has concluded. This will allow us to set the record straight publicly and share the findings, including the criticisms of the Chartered Institute’s processes and culture, and set out how we will ensure this doesn’t happen again.

We were asked specifically about when we would be able to publish the decision in the complaint currently being considered against a member and the findings associated with that complaint

Tell Jane was commissioned by the then CEO in February 2021 to undertake an independent investigation into historical complaints about a member’s behaviour.

Following a complaint on social media in March 2021 – that the then CEO had not acted on a complaint made to him in 2014 related to this case – the Chartered Institute asked Tell Jane for the scope of the investigation to be extended to include this.

The investigation was divided into two aspects: a) the complaint against the former CEO that he had not acted on a report of sexual harassment in 2014; and b) complaints against a member about incidents of sexual harassment.

The findings in the complaint against a member about incidents of sexual harassment have been reviewed by the Investigations Panel, which has decided on the sanctions. These have been shared with the complainants. The respondent (whose behaviour was investigated) has been informed, and he has the right to appeal within fourteen days, if he feels he has grounds.

As this process is ongoing, we cannot share more information at this stage. We can, however, assure you that we are keeping all those involved updated and prioritising their wellbeing. As we near the conclusion of the complaints process, we will prioritise communication with those involved on the next steps and communications about the outcome.

We were asked questions about what support were we providing for complainants and what would we be doing differently in the future to ensure the transparency that members are demanding?

We recognise that mistakes and communications have caused harm to survivors, and the Trustees have sincerely apologised for this. We are committed to ensure this does not happen again. We have taken a number of actions to address how we will do things differently in the future, all of which will underpin the safeguarding strategy going forward.

The principles for our safeguarding work and support for complainants and survivors will form the heart of our approach:

We want to emphasise that we will learn from past and recent failings and we are determined to build a better Chartered Institute which reflects what our members need, and safety is of paramount importance.

The new processes and approach will support survivors and complainants better throughout, provide a safer environment for members and attendees at events and ensure that staff and volunteers are trained in the processes and understand how to support any complaints or reports of harassment, discrimination and bullying.

We commissioned a Learning Review in 2020 and have accepted all its recommendations which make up our Action Plan, agreed in March 2021. This committed to introducing three new groups covering culture change, safeguarding and professional standards, recruiting independent chairs and members and introducing safeguarding and complaint handling training for all staff and volunteers.

The Chartered Institute has engaged a specialist safeguarding agency, to work with us to deliver the Action Plan. They have developed and delivered initial safeguarding training and are supporting the recruitment of external members to each group. They are further developing the policies and procedures on safeguarding and safe complaint handling. Our safeguarding agency will also be supporting the recruitment of a new post (Head of Professional Conduct) to lead on this important work. That recruitment will go live next week.

We have established the role of Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Trustee on the Board, and Isobel Michael has taken on this responsibility. One of her top priorities is to support survivors and complainants and to ensure that support and an understanding of trauma is built into our new procedures and posts. If you would like to discuss any of these issues directly you can contact Isobel by email at

We were asked many questions about our working partnership with Tell Jane; whether we had conducted the right levels of due diligence when commissioning Tell Jane; and there was clear frustration from those asking questions, and those commenting in the zoom chat, around this. Specifically, people were asking if we should appoint a new partner to deliver this important work

We appointed Tell Jane in July 2019 to establish a helpline service for our staff. This was expanded in December 2019 to provide the support for members through the free phone hotline (0800 6890843).

Tell Jane was selected based on recommendations from within the sector and on the recognition that they operate as an impartial and independent organisation. Tell Jane was established by survivors with authentic, lived experience to cultivate open and honest organisational cultures where people feel able to speak out against harassment, bullying and discrimination. The Tell Jane hotline offers Chartered Institute staff and members an important platform to speak out.

When we appointed Tell Jane, we undertook due diligence for the services they would be providing and have been satisfied with that work. They also previously provided us with robust and challenging recommendations, as part of their consultancy service, for our Learning Review in 2020, which have formed the basis of our Action Plan on Safeguarding.

Due to our tried and tested relationship with Tell Jane, the confidence we have in their abilities and the demonstrable experience they have in dealing with investigations, we commissioned them to undertake investigations for us this year into the complaints raised. No additional due diligence was done.

As a Board we have committed to review all our contracts with partners when the newly created role of Head of Professional Conduct starts. With the oversight of the new Safeguarding Task Group and Professional Conduct Committee, we will review what support and resources are needed. We will make sure that feedback is sought from members and people with lived experience so that when we recommission this important service or any service, we do so with the confidence of our community.

All of this is focused on creating a better culture so that members can be confident and feel heard when making complaints to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.

We were asked about how we have made our response trauma-informed and whether we created a safe space for members/staff to share their experiences

It’s critical to understand the trauma that survivors have experienced and the impact that this has so that we can use that awareness to provide a safe space for anyone to share their experiences in future. We recognise that this has not been the case in the past so survivors may not have felt safe to come forward and make a complaint about sexual harassment. We must learn from this and will do better. We recognise that the focus on the need for ‘formal’ complaints in the past was part of this issue and processes have now been changed to support anonymous and third party reporting.

We plan to recruit a Head of Professional Conduct with experience of supporting people who have experienced trauma through person centred and trauma informed approaches. We will also ensure that appropriate training is provided. Our Safeguarding Task Group will ensure that the Chartered Institute provides safe spaces for members and staff to share their experiences, supported by processes that enable us to respond in a trauma informed way.

We were asked about what we were doing to make sure our events are safe for members to attend, both in an online world and when we return to face-to-face activity

Our priority is to make sure that everyone is safe at our events. We know it will take time to rebuild trust. On a practical level we are introducing the following to ensure our events are safe and inclusive:

These changes will be effective in the next few weeks.

We have to ensure that our culture reflects and meets the expectations of our members. A culture that is respectful, safe and inclusive. One that can align the knowledge and expertise from our own profession with that of experts from outside of the sector, to challenge and disrupt our thinking. All with the aim of creating a culture that we can all be proud of.

We are making good progress implementing our Action Plan and will be updating it with further objectives in the coming weeks. Recruitment will reopen soon for the Professional Conduct Committee and the Safeguarding Task Group and we would encourage you to apply if you are interested in helping us shape this important change.

We are also about to engage with those who applied to join our Culture Commission. Alongside our member engagement over the summer and with new leadership, it’s crucial we get this right, and with key input from our Head of EDI and the EDI Committee we will ensure the Culture Commission’s work will have a breadth and significance that can shape our work and culture as an Institute and that of the fundraising profession.

We are committed to ensuring that all within the fundraising community – who do amazing work on behalf of so many worthwhile causes – are able to go about their work in a safe and secure environment.

We were also asked about our approach to engaging with partners and sponsors around safeguarding and sexual harassment

We will look carefully at sponsorship agreements that are already in place and consider options available. We know there have been failings in the past. In the future we will expect all sponsors/partners to sign up to our safeguarding policies, this includes all members of their staff. If they are a member or corporate member, we would deal with them as such. If they are not a member, we would hold them to the Chartered Institute Code of Behaviour at Events and exclude anyone who does not meet these standards.

It’s important to stress that all speakers and attendees at our events will be required to sign a Declaration upholding the importance of ensuring a safe event. We will also require that all sponsors have systems in place to enable complaints to be raised.

We expect sponsors and partners to abide by the same rules and behaviour as everyone else.

Once our new Head of Professional Conduct is in post, they will work with our Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion to engage with our EDI Committee and the new Safeguarding Task Group to review our approach to partnership working. Working with our partners, and with member oversight through these committees, we will take an inclusive approach to partnerships that has safeguarding as a key priority.

We were asked a few questions about the role of the Interim Chief Executive, specifically around the support she has been given and how she has engaged with members

In introducing Dhivya to the Chartered Institute we have been mindful of the phrase ‘glass cliff’, as one of the questioners posed. As well as providing support from trustees, we have made it clear that her role is very much about supporting the staff team and trustees to deliver the changes we are making, ensuring the smooth running of the Chartered Institute’s day-to-day activity and engagement with members. She is not accountable for past mistakes and we have made that very clear. It is for this reason that Dhivya has not engaged with some of the conversations on Twitter, about which one question was asked.

Dhivya has prioritised attending meetings with members and will continue to do so, taking responsibility for improving how we cascade key decisions and announcements to committees and groups first before this information is shared with the wider membership and fundraising community.

There were several questions about communications, how do we plan to improve how we communicate, why Twitter is not the best channel for proper discussion, and what had we learned and put in place to make the changes we needed to make

It’s clear that we need to regain trust. Better, more focused and relevant member communications are fundamental to that.

And we recognise that communications must be two-way. We pledge to be transparent and open, and to listen to what members want, in order to become a better organisation. There are three specific actions that we are taking:

  1. We are opening a member survey, to give members a chance to tell us how they feel to help shape the future direction of the Chartered Institute.
  2. The Board has committed to holding a series of ‘round tables’, the details of which are being finalised and will be shared soon. The purpose of these sessions will be to gain feedback on the previous strategy of the Chartered Institute and help shape our future strategic direction together. Part of those discussions will be to look at how the Chartered Institute can best fulfil its charitable objectives of raising standards in fundraising and promoting the efficiency of charities
  3. We are working closely with the Chairs of our volunteer groups to improve the communication flow with our volunteers and members, and to bring them closer into our planning around communications (e.g. engaging with groups to cascade information; and ensuring diverse voices are engaged in drafting and reviewing our communications).

And of course through all of this we are supporting the staff team. As you can appreciate this is a challenging time for staff, and ensuring their wellbeing is also a priority.

We certainly don’t intend to hide when it comes to how we communicate, it’s quite the opposite.

We have introduced procedures to make sure that key stakeholders are informed of decisions and announcements in advance. Therefore if it looks like some people are receiving information first, it is because, on some occasions, they will be.

And while Twitter is clearly an active space for discussion, we agree with one of the questioners that it should not be the space where we prioritise our engagement with members, and ask people to therefore understand why we might opt to communicate first on a direct communication channel.

Social media is an important tool to reach wider stakeholders, but we are considering the most appropriate way to develop our communication channel planning and ensure more dialogue in the right places, and at the right time.

We would also like to remind people to check their preferences in their Account on our website to make sure you have opted in to get the emails you want to receive. In particular you’ve opted in to receive member newsletters. If you’re not sure please email

There’s been talk of new and fresh leadership, but what does that look like?

As many of you will know, Nadine Campbell was appointed as Interim Chair by her fellow trustees after our AGM and will remain in that role until we have recruited a new Chair. There will be an open recruitment process, advertised widely and supported by an external agency.

The recruitment process will be open and transparent, and as trustees we would encourage everyone to get involved, consider applying and share the opportunity with anyone you feel could be the Chair that we need to take this work and the organisation forward.

We are at a crucial point where the need for stability and having a new Chair and trustee board that can commit time to this work is vital. The new Chair will need the right skillset, experience and the trust of the membership.

The new Chair will join a trustee Board that have all committed to being agents for change and the commitment to make the Chartered Institute an inclusive and safe place.

We need a Chair who is a #ProudFundraiser and has a passion for the sector and recognises and understands the spirit of the Chartered Institute. They will be a collaborative leader who can help us rebuild the organisation, someone who represents fundraisers from across the UK and is committed to working with our new Chief Executive, staff, volunteers, members and partners to help us be the best we can be.

We can also confirm that a new Chief Executive has been appointed to lead the Chartered Institute and the staff team. We are intending to announce that appointment in the next few weeks.

We were asked several questions about how our new strategy will be developed and whether individual members will play a part in that

The new strategic direction will be led by the new permanent Chief Executive and new Chair. But before they join the Chartered Institute, we, as trustees, will be doing a lot of listening and preparing the groundwork for the new strategy.

Over the summer we will be talking to all members, and other stakeholders, about our current strategy, what needs to change, what has gone well and what the new journey should look like for us as a Chartered Institute. We’ll kick these discussions off with a series of ‘round tables’ – and will share information about the first set of these meetings next week.

We have heard a number of questions asking what the future role of the Chartered Institute will be and the new strategy will help galvanise and focus us on those questions. We need to understand the needs of all our members and stakeholders and how together we can deliver our vision of Excellent fundraising for a better world.

We have the opportunity to develop a bold, new strategy together and at its heart Chartered Institute is an individual membership body and that will always be central to our work. Our focus is on building an exciting membership proposition that develops relationships with members, inspires those that have left to re-join and motivates new members to be part of our community. We look forward to sharing more of these ideas and opportunities with you in the future.

We had a question about whether a specific SIG should consider walking away from the Chartered Institute as a result of the impact of recent activities has had on our reputation. They wanted to know what trustees could do to encourage them to stay?

This question is important as there will be others in our volunteer groups across the regions, nations and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) may be asking themselves a similar question, and who are uncertain about what is the best way to respond or support their community following this difficult time.

We hope it is clear from trustees that we are committed to the change that is needed, recognise the mistakes that have been made and apologise for these failings. We hope that it is equally clear that we and the organisation are committed to put this right. We have outlined some of the steps we are implementing, focused on the work set out in our Action Plan, listening and learning.

The work we do together on the Chartered Institute’s next strategy is crucial with clarity on the organisation’s purpose and direction. What is the key role that the Chartered Institute can now play to support fundraisers and organisations? We will shortly begin the development of our next strategy and the ‘round table’ events will mark the first step in doing this. This will help galvanise and focus our organisation and planning - and our commitment is to build our next strategy together.

We want to reassure our groups and committees that work is already underway to improve the way we support, resource and recognise our volunteers with collaboration at its centre. We are focused on how we can work collaboratively and create an inspiring vision for our volunteering that is enjoyable, exciting and recognises the contribution you all make to supporting our members.

There’s never been a greater need for this profession whether you are in a large or small organisation, in fundraising or philanthropy, corporate or statutory - it is this profession that provides the link between the desire to invest in and the creation of a fairer better society - there has never been a more important time for the Chartered Institute together with its volunteers and staff to make that point understood to the world.

Other questions, not specifically related to safeguarding, but which we wanted to share responses to follow:

The funds designated for Regional and Specialist groups - to be used for what? Many of those funds were probably raised by those groups - does that mean they are simply held in the Chartered Institute accounts however the decision making is by the groups?

We’re grateful that we get to work alongside a diverse and talented volunteer community across the UK who give their time and energy towards supporting other fundraisers. Activities offered to members and led by our Groups range from networking events, mentoring schemes and promoting membership and bursaries, to hosting conferences and webinars, and these all aim to connect fundraisers together and build skills and knowledge on a peer-to-peer learning basis.

Some of this activity generates income which enables the groups to invest in bursaries, representing the Chartered Institute within their communities - and in future will enable them to host more in-person events.

Groups prepare and share their plans and budget requirements, and we work together to agree on those activities which maximise member benefits in a particular region, nation or specialism. Groups plan their activities and investment of time and funds using their experience and understanding of their communities.

The impact of the volunteers across our regional, national and special interest groups is immense, particularly for fundraisers in smaller charities, sole fundraising and freelance roles where groups provide a supportive network and community of fundraisers. For those of our members not in fundraising teams, the groups are a critical support network (and often the most direct way to engage with the Institute). This will be different in larger organisations where support and development is often embedded and members will be surrounded by other fundraisers.

I'm surprised that, in a major professional body with so many issues in progress that the trustees only meet quarterly. Why is this and has the frequency of trustee meetings been considered, since you became a charter body?

While generally the Trustees meet quarterly, over 2021 and 2020 the Board has met significantly more often. In addition, individual trustees have been meeting on focused areas of work and to support the staff team, as well as subcommittees of the Board meeting on at least a quarterly basis too. This is something that we should consider and review for the future as part of an overall governance review, led by the new Chair.

You need to be more proactive in helping the sector get back to normality, what are your plans for the return to face-to-face events for members?

We’ll continue to follow Government guidance and any restrictions that are in place across the UK, and we’ve been working with the Fundraising Regulator to make sure there is updated guidance and advice across the sector to help our members make decisions and return to fundraising safely and responsibly.

The safety of our members and others involved in fundraising is of utmost importance and we have been working through a process of setting out a framework to guide the return of our activities and transition back to face-to-face events alongside digital, as well as working with our groups to guide and support future events and activity.

This builds on the work we’ve been doing throughout the pandemic - alongside the Fundraising Regulator - to advise fundraisers and fundraising organisations on how to approach their activity during different stages of lockdowns across the four nations of the UK.

How is the Chartered Institute proactively reaching out to seek the expertise and recommendations of the group members/volunteers - particularly the EDI committee. And what are you doing to listen and action the expertise and advice given by them?

We recognise that the EDI committee and other group/committee volunteers have significant expertise and experience to help guide our day-to-day work and future direction. More focus is needed to engage our volunteers in a way that works for them, but also enables them to help shape the future strategy and influence change.

In addition to day-to-day contact with committees across the UK, we are working more closely with several Chairs who have been nominated to be the voice of our regions, nations and specialist groups. This is providing us with both the support and challenge to kick start a volunteer engagement programme which will include:

Volunteers bring lived experience, expertise and insight to committees such as Standards, EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion), and Learning and Development, with clear remits and positions of influence. We continue to benefit from their valuable advice, but intend to better communicate and support our relationship with them so that they can add value in a strategic way on an ongoing basis.

The work and reach of the Chartered Institute would not be possible without the support and input of our volunteers, and we want to make volunteering a core part of our new strategy.

So in the last two accounting periods you have lost £650,000 of reserves, what proportion of the £473,000 is non-recurring?

Over the last two accounting periods the Chartered Institute invested in the development and implementation of a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which is fundamental to the day-to-day operations of the charity. The investment is shown in the Intangible Fixed Assets on the balance sheet. The investment costs and the restructure costs totalled £352k and will not be incurred again. This amounts to 74% of the £473,000.

What is the non-recurring transformation cost?

The one-off restructure costs amounted to £217K.

How many individual members do we currently have?

The number of members currently totals 4,586. Like many professional bodies, individual membership has been affected by the implications of the Covid-19 crisis and we are confident that as we begin to recover from this crisis and rebuild trust, this will begin to improve. Like many of our members, we rely on our events and face-to-face activity to recruit new members. Our focus is on building an exciting membership proposition that attracts and engages with our members, inspires those that have left to re-join and motivates new members to be part of our community.

Can the trustees confirm that the organisation’s core purpose remains to serve its individual members and explain how this will be enacted throughout the organisation?

The purpose of the organisation is outlined in the Chartered Institute’s Charter and Byelaws (which includes the charitable objectives). These were not changed in the transfer to a Chartered Institute.

Individual membership is central to our existence as a Chartered Institute – it is through our members that we achieve our charitable objectives. Through our ‘round tables’ over the summer, leading up to our new strategy, we will be focusing on developing a proposition for our members that is exciting and meaningful at all stages of an individual’s career journey. We will be sharing more details over the coming weeks.

How is the Chartered Institute investing in improving support for members across the UK (outside of London)?

It’s crucial that we understand our members across the UK so that we can anticipate and meet their needs. These needs are changing, so we intend to undertake a forward-thinking member survey to make sure our approach is right. This will complement the proposed ‘round table’ sessions to consult with members, listen and learn.

We’ve found that a move to virtual content and networking provision has allowed many of our activities to extend our reach significantly as well as for groups across the UK. This has helped us to recognise more of the accessibility benefits that weren’t realised when most of our activity was face-to-face. Throughout the pandemic, we have invested in systems and resources to provide additional support for conferences. This has supported volunteers to focus on relevant content for members, with many of the logistical tasks managed by a central team.

We recognise the need to ensure that members outside of London can benefit from an inspiring and accessible range of events, activities and support. Before the pandemic we were seen as a London-centric organisation, and for legitimate reasons. Our volunteers are based across the UK and have shown great adaptability by providing membership benefits in new and inspiring ways. We’re open to doing thing differently and continue to learn what works well and what does not resonate with members, wherever they are based in the UK. Ideas to improve support in this way will feed directly into our plans for 2022 and longer-term strategy.

What support are you offering trust fundraisers given the sheer volume of work they did to keep much of our sector still working throughout the pandemic?

Trusts are a significant income stream for many charities – more vital now for some, than ever before. We know that trust fundraisers played a key role during the pandemic and raised extraordinary amounts of funding for crisis response and to replace other lost income for essential services, responding to new opportunities and ways of working. We understand the pressures trust fundraisers have faced; this has been relentless, with new opportunities being accompanied by tight deadlines and lots of extra work.

We hosted another dedicated Trusts Fundraising Conference in May 2021. It was really popular and responded to a genuine demand for knowledge sharing and learning in this important area after such a difficult year when trusts and foundations became the most important area of fundraising for many charities.

Importantly, we have a Trusts, Statutory and Foundations Specialist Interest Group covering Scotland, as well as a separate Trusts Special Interest Group covering the remainder of the UK. Both of these provide members and non-members access to networks and insights which equip and support the trust fundraising community throughout the year.

Finally, we offer training opportunities in this field through our short courses and masterclasses and maintain online resources on our site to share knowledge.

Do you have resources available for smaller charities?

We have a number of resources which are specifically there to support smaller and medium-sized charities, and fundraisers that work with smaller charities. For example, we have just launched a new Essential Guide to Fundraising which is designed for smaller charities, supported with five accessible videos on thematic areas which we’ve done together with the Small Charities Coalition. At Fundraising Convention 2020, with support from the National Lottery Community Fund we welcomed hundreds of new fundraisers from small charities to our biggest event of the year alongside our bursary scheme for disabled, BAME and LGBT+ fundraisers and young arts fundraisers.

We are constantly reviewing the type of resources we develop and always welcome feedback and what we could do better. Please contact to share your ideas.

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