CIoF complainant questions why her testimony was not included in investigation into former chief

Please see final paragraph for an update to this story.

One of the complainants who alleged the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s former chief executive failed to act on a disclosure of sexual misconduct has questioned why her testimony was not included in an independent investigation.

Beth Upton, a fundraising consultant, said she believed the scope of the investigation into the actions of Peter Lewis had been deliberately kept narrow to guarantee that a conclusion of “no wrongdoing” was reached.

She said was looking to file a formal complaint against the CIoF and Tell Jane, the HR agency that conducted the investigation.

On Wednesday, the CIoF published a statement declaring that Lewis had been cleared of wrongdoing over claims that he failed to act on a disclosure about an allegation made against a CIoF member in 2014.

The body later clarified in a tweet that the investigation had concluded that no disclosure was made in 2014.

The full report was not released, but in a statement, the CIoF told Third Sector: “Tell Jane informed everyone who gave evidence to or took part in the investigation as to the outcome of the investigation.”

But Third Sector understands that Upton, along with other witnesses and complainants, was not informed and had not been offered a copy of the report.

In a Twitter thread published on Friday, Upton said that in April, she gave testimony to Tell Jane “about both a perpetrator of sexual harassment and Peter Lewis' inaction despite knowledge of that perpetrator’s actions”.

She shared a screenshot of an email from Tell Jane, inviting her to an online interview as part of an investigation that was explicitly looking at both “complaints of sexual harassment” against a CIoF member “and that Peter Lewis and the IoF received complaints of sexual harassment and took no action to deal with the complaints”.

But Upton then tweeted that she had been told by a CIoF trustee who had seen the report that she was not considered to be a witness in the Peter Lewis complaint and her testimony had not been included in the investigation.

She said: “I have asked how I make my complaint against both @cioftweets and Tell Jane formal because this is nonsense.”

In regards to the finding by Tell Jane that Lewis did not receive a complaint about sexual misconduct in 2014, Upton said: “I know that IoF was informed of this person's behaviour in 2014 because I was the person who told them.”

She said she did not tell Lewis personally, but that she expected the person she had told to take action, and believed that they had passed it on within the organisation.

She said she also had an email from Lewis confirming that a senior member of his staff knew of the alleged perpetrator's actions in April 2019.

“I told an officer of my professional body and nothing was done,” Upton wrote. “That is the complaint, not about whether a specific person acted [on a] specific version of the telling on a specific date.”

She went on to say: “I'm beginning to see that the boundaries of the investigation into Peter were drawn so tight as to guarantee the ‘no wrongdoing’ conclusion.”

She said no one from CIoF was “giving a straight answer, publicly or privately” about her concerns, and that no support had been offered before or after the publication of the report.

A further investigation into the allegation of sexual harassment itself is still ongoing.

Lewis said: “During my time as the chief executive of the Chartered Institute I always dealt with complaints or disclosures made to me, or complaints or disclosures brought to my attention by someone else, in accordance with the Institute's complaints and disciplinary processes.

“Once again I offer my sincere apologies to anyone who has suffered harm as a result of the institute’s complaints and disciplinary policies and processes. Under my leadership we started to improve them, and that important work is continuing.”

The CIoF did not provide a comment before publication of this story.

Since this story was published, Tell Jane has disputed the CIoF's claim that Tell Jane was instructed to inform those involved in the investigation of its outcome before it was made public. The CIoF has subsequently acknowledged that this was incorrect and issued an apology. More detail can be found here.

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