Hello, I’m Xose Lumor and I’m very pleased to have joined the Chartered Institute of Fundraising as the new Head of Professional Conduct. By way of a bit of a background, I’m a non-practising Barrister and professional conduct consultant. I previously started a consultancy, Excalibur Experts Ltd, with the goal of advising professional membership bodies and parties involved in professional conduct cases on disciplinary processes and procedures.
The starting point for me right now will be listening and learning. I want to develop an understanding of the journey the Chartered Institute has been on until now to help inform the work we do moving forward. There have been significant and very public failures in this area in recent times and the Chartered Institute must not shy away from acknowledging and owning them. These failings have had a significant and harmful impact on those affected and this cannot be ignored. This isn’t just about those who have come forward and shared their stories, but it’s also about those who have felt unable to do so because of a lack of confidence in the processes in place.
Change cannot just be a buzz word for appearances sake but must be genuine, authentic and for the better. The work we do cannot create the impression that the focus here is on trying to repair any perceived damage in reputation, but rather must be about creating safe and inclusive spaces for people to work and exist. People need to know that the Chartered Institute is there to both set the standards expected, as well as to provide support when it’s suspected that these standards have not been met.
To be clear, professional standards must run at the core of any professional membership body, and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising is no different. The Chartered Institute’s setting of standards not only informs members, and the wider public, about the behavioural standards expected of members, but it also helps to shape and communicate the values and culture that the Chartered Institute seeks to set for itself and influence across the wider fundraising community.
While the Chartered Institute expects members to commit to upholding and maintaining these standards at all times, it has a significant role to play in supporting the membership in doing so and providing support to parties where the conduct of a member is in question. In the role of Head of Professional Conduct, I will be in a position to provide support to those involved in the complaints process. The commitment to providing support that is more trauma informed and supportive is one of the key changes that the Institute has committed to following the lessons learned and concerns raised.
However, it’s important to note that the importance of setting standards goes beyond the Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. These standards and behaviours, as well as the values that underpin them, must permeate through to supporters, colleagues, volunteers, and beneficiaries, as well as the charity sector and general public more broadly. The Chartered Institute understands that there is clearly much work to do here and has committed to doing just that, putting in the work. That is why I’m here.
The Head of Professional Conduct role is a new senior role developed as part of the Chartered Institute’s Action Plan to Tackle Harassment, Discrimination and Abuse in the Fundraising Community to support systemic change within the Chartered Institute and the wider fundraising sector. I will collaborate with our trustees, leadership team, volunteers, members, and staff to work to help ensure that professional conduct and safeguarding are central to all the Chartered Institute does.
Within this role, I will work with staff and key stakeholders associated with the Chartered Institute to help deliver a safe and inclusive culture through a safeguarding policy framework that will tackle and respond to all forms of harassment, discrimination and abuse and influences systemic change for the fundraising profession.
The priorities of the Action Plan will include the developing of an overarching safeguarding policy that covers all forms of harassment, discrimination, and abuse. Furthermore, it will ensure that systems and processes are set up that are easy to use. This will increase the visibility and accessibility of our procedures for those who want or need to access them. We will also develop clear lines of communication about our processes and procedure, so everyone knows how and where to make a disclosure and what support is available throughout that process.
With the above in mind, I want to say something that people who engage with me will hear me say a lot; We’re all just people. There will be challenges, and at times, we’re not always our best selves. But it’s also important to recognise that this does not absolve us from putting the work in to be better; to do better. That applies not only to all of us as people, but to the organisations we work with and represent. The Chartered Institute is no different.
Lastly, I want to ask you all (and if you’re reading this, I am speaking to you) to have a think about one small change you can make to what you say or what you do, that can contribute to a safer and more inclusive environment for those around you. Then put that change into action. Big change can begin with seemingly small moments, and it’s the small things that make up life. To this end, I want to thank those inside and outside the Chartered Institute who have pushed for change and refused to settle for anything other than meaningful solutions to ongoing challenges in the sector. It’s through thoughtful and inclusive collaboration that genuine change is possible. Now let’s get to work.
Please feel free to contact me at Complaints@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk if you have any questions or professional conduct matters that you would like to bring to the Chartered Institute’s attention.