The Charity Commission says it continues to have concerns about systemic underreporting of serious incidents by domestic and international charities, as it publishes the findings of its interim taskforce on safeguarding.
The task force – one of a suite of measures announced by the Commission – was set up to respond robustly and consistently to the significantly increased volume of serious incident reports on safeguarding matters submitted by charities following the safeguarding revelations involving Oxfam and Save the Children in February.
Charities submitted a total of 2,114 reports of serious incidents relating to safeguarding incidents or issues between 20 February and 30 September 2018, compared to 1,580 serious incident reports about safeguarding received in the whole of 2017-18, and 1,203 received in 2016-17.
The Commission says that it is vital that charities, whether they work domestically or around the world, report serious incidents to the regulator. Doing so provides reassurance that trustees are responding appropriately and as the public would expect to the issue itself. The Commission says data on serious incident reporting also allows it to better understand risks facing the sector and take appropriate action.
The taskforce also undertook a ‘deep dive’ of the regulator’s records relating to safeguarding concerns dating back to April 2014 to identify any potential failure in full and frank disclosure by charities, and to ensure charities and the Commission had taken appropriate follow-up actions to deal with the incident reported.