Whistleblowing charity Protect is calling for the Charity Commission to introduce whistleblowing rules or regulations for the sector, following serious failings at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) – which the watchdog has called ‘one of the worst examples of poor governance and oversight having a direct impact on vulnerable people’.
The Commission has issued an alert to all large complex charities about the importance of safeguarding processes, governance and whistleblowing following the inquiry into the RNIB. The failings led to repeated incidents where young people in its schools and residential homes were put at risk, or suffered harm and distress.
Protect Chief Executive Liz Gardiner said, “We welcome the Charity Commission’s reminder to charities to ensure they have effective whistleblowing or Speak Up arrangements, and the emphasis on anti-retaliation measures towards whistleblowers. However, asking charities to be ‘mindful of the issue’ may not be enough to really drive forward change.
The time has come to introduce whistleblowing rules in this sector. Rules which can be enforced by the regulator will help guide charities on the standards expected of them in this area and hold those falling short to account.
As we saw in our research into charity sector whistleblowing, Time To Transform, there is more work needed in the third sector to prevent the victimisation of whistleblowers, and train staff in how to effectively act on concerns raised.”