The Charity Commission has released a report on its approach to whistleblowing. It also gives details of whistleblowing disclosures it received between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019.
The Commission received 185 disclosures in that period, an increase from 101 disclosures in the previous period (and up from 88 disclosures in the year before that). Disclosures were predominantly received from employees and ex-employees (167, 90.3%).
The top three subjects of disclosures concerned: safeguarding, governance and fraud/money laundering. 97.8% of the disclosures received were identified by the Commission as needing some regulatory action due to the nature and level of risk reported. The most common action taken was for the Commission to provide advice to the charities, and the most common impact of Commission action was that trustees became fully aware of their responsibilities and duties. Only in 4 cases did the Commission decide to take no further action. Cases were opened in response to 97.8% of disclosures.
During the year, the Commission also widened the definition of a whistleblower to include charity volunteers as well as charity workers. As the Commission itself said, this is 'a significant change that extends our ability to identify serious concerns that we need to act on. Whilst volunteers do not have any statutory protections if they report serious concerns to us (unlike workers), we recognise that in other respects they face many of the personal challenges and risks experienced by workers and therefore need the same sort of engagement from us.'
The full report can be accessed here.