How we are dealing, and have dealt with, complaints about sexual harassment in fundraising

19 March 2021
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Please note: This page contains mention of sexual harassment against women.

Since establishing our task group on sexual harassment in March 2019, we have revised our complaints policy and encourage people to come forward and report complaints if they have experienced sexual harassment by one of our members or at one of our events, no matter when the incident happened. 

How do I report any issues or complaints of sexual harassment? 

Our complaints policy can be found here and we actively encourage anyone to come forward to report their experience of any inappropriate behaviour by a member of the Chartered Institute or at a Chartered Institute event, no matter when the incident happened 

An independent helpline provided by Tell Jane provides confidential support for anyone seeking to understand how their complaint to the Chartered Institute will be handled. You can contact them on 0800 689 0843. 

What do I do if I want to make a complaint about a member of staff or a trustee of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising? 

All trustees are members of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. Any complaint about a trustee will be considered in line with our complaints policy.  

Complaints about staff should be directed to

Complaints about the Chief Executive will be considered by the Chair who will ask a trustee or trustees to lead the investigation.    

How many investigations into allegations of sexual harassment have you investigated? 

Since we changed our complaints policy in June 2019 we have completed 8 investigations, which include allegations of sexual harassment from several years ago.  

The majority of these cases have resulted in sanctions being imposed.  

Where possible and appropriate the sanctions imposed are specifically in accordance with the complainants’ wishes.  

Sanctions have included formal apologies being made to the complainant in question to being banned from membership of the Chartered Institute for a period of time. 

Why don’t you publish the outcome of investigations and complaints? 

Although we haven’t previously published the outcome of investigations, the Board made a decision in October 2020 to publish decisions where there has been an adverse finding and it is in the public interest to do so. 

Is the complaints process fit for purpose and how will improvements be made? 

As a professional body we are under a duty to deliver a fair process in any investigation. We have to act in accordance with our current Complaints and Disciplinary Regulations and take legal advice as necessary to help ensure we do this.   

Our complaints process was reviewed and updated in June 2019. Since then, we have made available a free independent helpline provided by Tell Jane to provide confidential support for anyone seeking to understand how their complaint to the Chartered Institute will be handled. You can contact them on 0800 689 0843. 

In December 2020, we commissioned Tell Jane to undertake an independent review of the complaints process to make sure we could continue to improve it. 

Their review focuses on how we can improve the support offered to people making complaints and improvements we can make to the investigation process itself and decision-making. These include how we conduct investigations and disciplinary processes 

In developing the review Tell Jane have considered sensitive and confidential information and have done so on the basis that the report would respect these confidences and would not be published. We will, however, publish an executive summary of the report as well as the action the Trustees plan to take as a result of the review and wider member feedback.

What do you do to make sure that people are safe from harassment? 

We have a Code of Behaviour that applies to everyone including, but not limited to, attendance at any of our events, training courses, National, regional and special interest group activities as well as social media interactions.  

The Code is explicit about the behaviours that will not be tolerated including unwelcome sexual attention or harassment, offensive actions or comments related to a person’s gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, appearance or other aspects of identity.   

Specific questions relating to complaints made in July 2019  

There have been specific questions about particular complaints made in July 2019. 

We have now referred these complaints to Tell Jane to review and investigate.  

As these are live investigations, and in order not to jeopardise the outcomes, we are not able to comment on them any further. 

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