Charity Commission opens case into the anti-racism charity Kick It Out

The regulator says it is assessing concerns about the charity, whose founding chair has also announced he is to step down after 25 years in the role

The Charity Commission has opened a regulatory compliance case on the anti-racism in football charity Kick It Out, amid concerns about an alleged lack of support for staff.

The case comes shortly after the charity’s founding chair of 25 years, Lord Herman Ouseley, announced plans to step down, prompted, according to an article in The Guardian newspaper, by frustration with the board’s handling of personnel issues.

Third Sector understands that the commission opened the compliance case on the charity after receiving a complaint from one or more former employees of the charity and a report from trustees of a serious incident involving the sexual assault of a female staff member by someone not employed by the charity.

According to The Guardian, the woman was assaulted by a man from outside the organisation during the evening of an away-day event and did not feel the charity had the expertise and procedures to support her effectively.

The complaint from former employees was that the board and senior management had not fostered an environment in which staff could comfortably raise workplace concerns, The Guardian said.

A commission spokeswoman said: "The public rightly expect charities to be safe places where people are free from harm. We have been made aware of concerns about the charity Kick It Out. We have opened a regulatory compliance case to assess these concerns."

Ouseley announced he was stepping down on 11 December, saying in a statement that it was the right time for new leadership to take over and for him to focus on new challenges after 56 years of public service.

In a statement, Kick It Out said: "The trustees take their responsibilities very seriously and have begun the process of an independent inquiry into the issues that have been raised."

The charity, which had an income of £891,237 and spent £790,025 in the year to 30 June 2017, is funded by the Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League and the Professional Footballers’ Association, and a representative of each organisation sits on the board alongside independent trustees.

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