Open letter to members from Nadine Campbell, Interim Chair of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising
Today the Board of Trustees has published a report which sets out the details of the outcome of investigations into sexual harassment as well as identifying significant organisational failures. You can read the full report, and on behalf of the Board I would like to address key parts of the report below and set out our continued commitment to change.
The investigation into a member of the Chartered Institute has concluded that the member breached the organisation’s Code of Conduct as the behaviour was found to be sexual harassment as defined under the Equality Act 2010. This has resulted in the individual being immediately and permanently expelled as a member; removed as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute; and banned from all future Chartered Institute events.
My fellow trustees and I would like to share our deepest apologies for the mistakes that have been made over many years, and in particular to the survivors and allies who have fought so hard and participated in a process which was much more difficult and challenging for them than it should have been due to our failures. Harassment, discrimination and bullying of any kind is completely unacceptable and we are committed to taking strong action to tackle these issues and to provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.
We have also reflected on the investigation into the outcome of the complaint that the former CEO and/or the Institute did not act on an allegation of sexual harassment in 2014. The Board feels that there was not sufficient evidence available at the time to conclusively determine what happened. The Board is commissioning a new independent review which will include evidence that is now available from the main investigation.
This new independent review will focus on the wider issue of concerns, reports and complaints of sexual harassment not being acted upon appropriately over time by the Chartered Institute. More details of this review will be made available as soon as possible.
As part of addressing our organisational failures and past mistakes, the Board would like to apologise for the wording of the statement made in June 2021 that there was ‘no wrongdoing by Peter Lewis’, former CEO of the Chartered Institute. As CEO during the relevant period, he bears responsibility, along with trustees and the staff involved, for not taking action sooner in tackling the cultural and organisational failings.
We are committed to change and taking the actions needed to address the failings set out in the report. These include:
- a new central screening process that will ensure that anyone who has been suspended or expelled due to an investigation cannot participate as a speaker or delegate
- recruitment for a new Head of Professional Conduct which is currently live
- and the Board now has a Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Trustee with oversight of the complaints process and safeguarding work.
We know things have gone wrong, and that our processes, policies, and culture meant that survivors and complainants have not been supported properly. We are deeply sorry to them for this and in particular for the lack of action in response to repeated patterns of behaviour, reported over time by more than one individual.
We recognise that members have been waiting some time to hear from us on the conclusions of this investigation and will be frustrated on how long it has taken to communicate with you about this. The reason is that during the process additional evidence came to light which had to be considered and with a complex case going back many years, there were a number of people who we needed to keep informed and communicate with appropriately. Changes made to our processes will mean that future investigations will be better managed and supportive for everyone involved.
I encourage you to read the report to see the details of the findings of the investigations and more information on our past failures and action.
The Chartered Institute will have new leadership this year with both a new Chief Executive and Chair, supported by new trustees. Importantly, this new leadership includes survivors; for behaviours and culture to really change, we know that those with lived experience must be a part of the conversation. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all those who have spoken out and challenged us to ensure that issues are properly addressed. Whilst there is some way to go, I look forward with optimism to the future, as we begin to build a better Chartered Institute for all.
If you would like to contact me, please do so by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Safeguarding and Whistleblowing Trustee, Isobel Michael at email@example.com.