Charity Commission contacting CIoF trustees over handling of sexual misconduct claims

The Charity Commission has said it will contact trustees at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising over the umbrella body’s handling of investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct.

The CIoF has faced criticism for confusing communications and for failing to give advance notice to witnesses and survivors after it published the outcome of a report into its former chief executive’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct.  

On 9 June, the CIoF announced that an investigation into whether Peter Lewis had received an allegation of sexual misconduct in 2014 had found there was “no wrongdoing” on his part.  

Despite initially claiming that the report, which has not been published, had categorically found that no disclosure was made to Lewis, the CIoF has since admitted the investigation was in fact “unable to find sufficient evidence” that a complaint had been made to him, but did conclude a complaint was probably made to someone at the CIoF.   

The CIoF, which is itself a charity, has also apologised to witnesses and survivors involved in the case for failing to notify them before the results of the investigation were made public.  

It had previously claimed that Tell Jane, the HR agency which conducted the report, had informed everyone who was involved, but Tell Jane denied being instructed to do this and the CIoF retracted the claim. 

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the concerns raised this week about the way in which the findings of the independent investigation into the allegations have been communicated. 

“We will be making contact with the trustees to seek assurances that they are handling this matter appropriately.”

The allegations that the CIoF had ignored accusations of sexual misconduct against one of its members surfaced on Twitter in March.  

The commission spokeswoman said the CIoF had made a serious incident report to the commission earlier this year “in connection with allegations about the charity’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct”.

A second investigation, into the allegations of sexual misconduct themselves, is ongoing and is expected to conclude at the end of the month.

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