Age Concern charity's former head and whistleblower files claim with employment tribunal

Tracey Morgan, who was chief executive of Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East, says she was constructively dismissed after raising concerns about the charity's governance

Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East
Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East

The former chief executive of Age Concern Slough and Berkshire East has filed a claim at the employment tribunal that she was constructively dismissed after blowing the whistle about governance concerns at the charity.

Acsabe said that it would contest the claim, for which a hearing is yet to be scheduled, and that Tracey Morgan resigned from her post.

In January, the Charity Commission said it was looking into the charity after a whistleblower raised concerns. The charity launched an internal investigation and began a restructure.

Morgan told Third Sector that she was that whistleblower. She said that, having previously raised concerns internally, she blew the whistle while on long-term sick leave with injuries sustained in a bike accident. Morgan said that her position was made untenable by the charity after this disclosure, forcing her to resign.

"My claim is that I suffered a detriment as a result of a public interest disclosure, some of which concerned the conduct personally of Raj Dhokia, the chairman," she said.

She said her claim of constructive dismissal, made against both the charity itself and Dhokia individually, had been accepted for hearing by the employment tribunal, but that no tribunal date had been set.

A spokeswoman for the charity said it would vigorously contest the tribunal claim. "Following a period of absence on paid sick leave, Tracey Morgan, former chief executive of Acsabe, sent a letter of resignation to the trustees on 25 April 2014. This letter was accepted. Kevin Griffiths has been acting chief executive since May," the spokeswoman said.

She said that the trustees had since "overseen a thorough governance review and endorsed a new strategic plan", and that these had been shared with key funders.

A spokeswoman for the Charity Commission said it was continuing to look into the charity’s governance and financial management. She said: "We have met the trustees and carried out a records inspection. Following this visit, we have been encouraged by steps that the trustees have taken to address our concerns. However, there are a number of outstanding issues we are examining regarding payments to a connected party and the governance of the charity."

Acsabe is one of five Age Concern charities that said in 2011 they would not sign partnership agreements with the national charity Age UK, which was created from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged. Morgan said at the time that such a partnership would prevent Acsabe from expanding and continuing to carry out trading activities.

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